ROBONEO AWS DeepRacer Challenge set to cultivate interest in robotic fields

KOTA KINABALU, 30 MARCH 2021: Sabah is organising ROBONEO AWS DeepRacer Challenge 2021 to cultivate interest in robotics field in the efforts to boost Malaysia TVET (Technical and Vocational Education and Training) community learning ecosystem.

The virtual competition will see participants putting their creativity and acquired skills to the test to design learning machine models.

Thus far, ROBONEO AWS DeepRacer Challenge 2021 has received 100 participations since the registration is opened on March 25. The closing date for the registration is tomorrow (March 31).

The programme is jointly organised by Politeknik Kota Kinabalu, Sabah Creative Economy and Innovative Centre (SCEIC), Papar Community College, Kinabalu Coders, and Amazon Web Services (AWS) Educate Singapore.

Supported by the Ministry of Higher Education, ROBONEO AWS DeepRacer Challenge programme chairman Ts. Julkifli Awang Besar said the challenge aims to help with the early adoption of artificial intelligence and machine learning technology for a more diverse workforce of the future.

ROBONEO AWS DeepRacer Challenge programme chairman Ts. Julkifli Awang Besar

Julkifli, who is also representing Politeknik Kota Kinabalu, said such initiative aims to bring together TVET students and education community to learn collaboratively and get hands on with machine learning through a cloud-based virtual racing simulator.

He noted Politeknik Kota Kinabalu’s role is to educate the community, especially the youth, on new technologies that lead to digital and robotics technologies.

“We are an institution that offers TVET teaching and learning under the Ministry of Higher Education. Politeknik Malaysia is a strategic partner to AWS in the implementation of online learning.

“To strengthen and enhance the knowledge of TVET, Politeknik students also collaborate with various industries in line with the country’s inspiration to develop the economy and all areas of Fourth Industrial Revolution (Industry 4.0),” he said.

During the course of the competition, participants get the opportunity to build their machine learning models and compete on tracks virtually while diving deep into advanced reinforcement learning and upskilling with machine learning.

The competition is divided into Politeknik Malaysia Category for all students from Politeknik Malaysia; Kolej Komuniti Malaysia Category for all students from Kolej Komuniti Malaysia with IT background; and Open Category for secondary school in Sabah as well as other institution in Malaysia (college, university, community).

The top three winners of each category will receive medals, certificates and cash prizes.

Being the main sponsor for the challenge, SCEIC hopes to see more participants expressing interest in robotics field, particularly in Sabah, in the efforts to achieve Industry 4.0.

The centre’s programme specialist and community builder Fazlan Thomas said there is a lack of exposure about robotics among young Sabah people as compared to other states, unless they already have an interest in the field.

“We are in the process of promoting SCEIC itself to Sabahans. Our objectives in driving the industry through entrepreneurship, technology, innovation and creativity to some extent can provide exposure to all on the importance of TVET system to all.

“Although SCEIC is only a year old, we strive to ensure good relations with higher learning institutions, corporate, private and individuals in achieving goals and to spread the importance of TVET as well as Industry 4.0 in Sabah.

“The ROBONEO AWS DeepRacer Challenge is one of SCEIC’s efforts to provide exposure to students to be interested in participating more programmes related to robotics.

“This will also cultivate their interest to apply the knowledge learned theoretically into practice so they are better prepared for the real world with existing experience and skills,” he added.

SCEIC programme specialist and community builder Fazlan Thomas

Fazlan said all quarters need to think ahead the strategies for Sabah to have its own experts in robotics, Internet of Things, and machine learning among others in 5 to 10 years’ time.

“Programme like ROBORNEO AWS DeepRacer Challenge 2021 is one of the great initiatives we can consistently organise with other stakeholders to create more talents and experts at young age to be the state’s assets in the near future,” he added.

Meanwhile, Kinabalu Coders co-founder Edham Arief Dawillah hoped more people will be aware and know about the development of technology involving cloud computing, artificial intelligence, and even self-driving car.

This, he said, is to ensure Malaysia in general and Sabah in particular does not fall behind from the progress of the Industry 4.0 era.

Kinabalu Coders is a non-governmental organisation that acts as a technical team in helping to make ROBONEO AWS DeepRacer Challenge 2021 a success.

Its role includes carrying out any technical work in Amazon’s cloud computing platform and also advising the committee members as well participants on computer programming, cloud computing, deep learning, machine learning, and artificial intelligence.


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