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METI to Hold First AI Edge Contest

November 12, 2018

The Ministry of Economy, Trade and Industry (METI) decided to embark on a contest program titled AI Edge Contest aiming to discover outstanding computer technologies, human resources and ideas as well as to encourage promising new human resources to enter these fields for the purpose of establishment of innovative AI edge computing technology. Under this program, entries will use real data and compete in developing solutions to challenges by focusing on future implementations.

In the first contest this year, entries will compete with each other in the accuracy of detecting target objects in images for image recognition, a technology indispensable for the realization of autonomous driving technology.

METI plans to continuously conduct a series of contests under this program targeting not only algorithms and other software, but also hardware and implementation thereof, as part of its efforts for achievement of innovative AI edge computing technology.

The data on vehicles driving on roads to be used in the first contest will be publicized after the contest.

1. Purpose of the program

While some say that Moore’s Law, a rule of thumb in the field of IT technology that has been playing an important role in development of IT, has been stagnating, it is expected that demand for IoT devices that are able to immediately response to users’ commands will grow amid the arrival of the IoT society. In this trend, industries have been requesting the realization of innovative AI edge computing, a technology that enables handling such response taking AI technologies.

Against this backdrop, METI decided to embark on a contest program titled AI Edge Contest aiming to discover outstanding computer technologies, human resources and ideas as well as to encourage promising new human resources to enter these fields for the purpose of establishment of innovative AI edge computing technology. Under this program, entries will use real data and compete in developing solutions to challenges by focusing on future implementations.

In the first contest this year, entries will focus on a subject titled “autonomous driving and mobility service,” one of the priority fields that Japan should tackle under the “Connected Industries” policy, and will compete with each other in accuracy of detecting target objects in images for image recognition, a technology indispensable for the realization of autonomous driving technology.

METI plans to continuously conduct a series of contests under this program targeting not only algorithms and other software, but also hardware and implementation thereof, as part of its efforts for achievement of innovative AI edge computing technology.

2. Details of the contest

Title: First AI Edge Contest
Organizer: METI
Co-organizers: New Energy and Industrial Technology Development Organization (NEDO) and National Institute of Advanced Industrial Science and Technology (AIST)
System for executing the contest: Three committees established by METI: Advisory Committee, Preparation and Management Committee and Review Board
Eligibility: None (any individuals and associations are eligible for entry.)
Period: From November 19 (Mon.), 2018, to January 27 (Sun.), 2019
Commendation ceremony: Early March of 2019 (tentative; top finishers will be recognized and awarded a prize.)

Details of the contest: Entries will compete with each other in either of two categories: Object Detection Category and Segmentation Category.

Details of the categories

Advisory Committee members

3. Publication of data sets to be used in the contest

Japan has been storing few data sets on vehicles driving on domestic roads that are processed, e.g., tagged, and publicly accessible. To overcome this challenge and as a preparation for this contest, METI constructed data sets involving images of vehicles driving on general and other roads in the Tokyo area. METI is considering making the data sets public after the contest to aid in domestic research activities for image recognition technologies.

Outline of the data sets

In preparation for this contest, METI constructed two types of data sets concerning images of vehicles driving on general and other roads in the Tokyo area: [i] data sets processed by rectangular tags; and [ii] those processed by labeling or segmentation by pixel. An outline of the maps of driving routes about which the images of driving vehicles were acquired and the data sets of types [i] and [ii] is as follows:

Maps of driving routes about which the images of driving vehicles were acquired

[i] Data sets processed by tags

Number of images: Approximately 30,000
Number of types of tags: 10 (i.e., vehicles, pedestrians, trucks, traffic signals, signs, bicycles, motorcycles, buses, special-purpose vehicles and trains)

[ii] Data sets processed by segmentation

Number of images: Approximately 3,000
Number of types of tags: 21 (i.e., vehicles, pedestrians, traffic signals, drive lanes, buses, trucks, special-purpose vehicles, motorcycles, bicycles, trains, signs, sky, buildings, natural objects, walls and fence walls, ground surfaces, sidewalks, shoulder roads, obstacles, unknown objects, and own vehicles whose photos were taken by chance)

4. Other event

METI will recognize top finishers of the contest and offer them eligibility for entry to a program titled “Take on Challenges in Autonomous Driving AI” to be held in March 2019, an event to be organized by the Society of Automotive Engineers of Japan, Inc. In this program, these finishers are eligible for taking on implementation of algorithms in autonomous driving programs, mounting of such algorithms on cart vehicles, and driving of such cart vehicles.

Division in Charge

Device Industry and Digital Consumer Electronics Strategy Office, Commerce and Information Policy Bureau