December 14, 2020
On December 12, 2020, the final results of the Japan Automotive AI Challenge contest, an event organized by the Society of Automotive Engineers of Japan, Inc. (JSAE) and supported by the Ministry of Economy, Trade and Industry (METI), were announced online and the commendation ceremony was held online.
Aiming to discover and foster AI and IT engineers who will exercise leadership in the automobile industry, METI will continue to support these efforts.
1. Background to convening the Second Japan Automotive AI Challenge
With the advancement of the commercialization of autonomous driving technologies, a wide variety of industries, including those that produce control technologies and intelligence, information and security technologies, have been facing growing needs for expert human resources in AI and IT. In light of this trend, METI, through its Subcommittee on Business Discussions on Autonomous Driving Technologies, has been promoting the following efforts for human resource strategies in the field of autonomous driving technologies:
- Securing and fostering top-class expert human resources in AI, etc.;
- Establishing a human-resource creation system through a combination of autonomous driving and IT to acquire the volume zone market with unconventional low-cost technologies; and
- Establishing an HR creation system with globalization taken into consideration.
As part of the effort for securing and fostering the top-class expert human resources in AI, etc. above, the organizer launched the Japan Automotive AI Challenge contest in FY2019. In FY2020, it held the second contest by further expanding on the design and scale of the FY2019 contest.
2. Final Round of the Second Japan Automotive AI Challenge
The final contest was scheduled to provide a competition using physical vehicles. However, from the viewpoint of preventing the expansion of the novel coronavirus disease, the competition was canceled. Instead, the final competition was conducted in the form of an online simulation that made use of the programs submitted by the finalists in advance.
Twelve teams in total participated in the final competition, including the top finisher teams of the Second AI Edge Contest held by METI and teams that passed the preliminary round of the online simulation competition held by JSAE.
(Roster of the teams: One student team, nine professional teams, and two professional-student teams)
Methodology for the online final competition
Finalists designed programs in accordance with subjects and submitted them to the organizer during the predetermined period from September 23 to November 6, 2020. Using the programs submitted by the finalists, the organizer conducted an online race of autonomous vehicles.
Outline of the final competition
Amid surging demand for food deliveries against the backdrop of the expansion of the novel coronavirus disease, the final competition targeted the delivery of food and beverages by autonomous vehicles, which it is hoped will enhance distribution efficiency. In an online simulated race, finalists competed in problem-solving and achieving the task, which consisted of the “quick, safe and accurate” delivery by autonomous vehicles of the food and beverage products.
Concept of the final competition
Left turn while avoiding
an oncoming vehicle
Passing a lower-speed vehicle
Ranking of the finalists was determined based on time to the goal, with disqualification for violating traffic rules, e.g., the vehicles must observe the speed limit, avoid contact with pedestrians, other vehicles and obstacles, and avoid sidewalks.
3. Announcement of the final results and the online commendation ceremony
On December 12, 2020, the final results of the Second Japan Automotive AI Challenge were announced and a commendation ceremony was held online from the viewpoint of preventing expansion of the novel coronavirus disease. The following are the top finishing teams.
Winner of the Grand Award and the Director-General’s Award of Manufacturing Industries Bureau, METIgatti
Sakamoto Shin and Ui Kenichi (NTT DATA Automobiligence Research Center Ltd.)
Winner of the Award of Excellence and the Chairman’s Award of the Japan Automobile Manufacturers Association, Inc.
Nakagawa Hiroaki, Horiuchi Yoshimasa and Kohriyama Hiroki (Toyota Motor Corporation)
Nakagaki Tomohiro (Sun Corporation)
JSAE will release the final results and a video clip of the commendation ceremony on its website at a later date.
Division in Charge
ITS and Autonomous Driving Promotion Office, Automobile Division, Manufacturing Industries Bureau