Next year, a squad of souped-up Dallara race cars will reach speeds of up to 200 miles per hour as they zoom around the legendary Indianapolis Motor Speedway to discover whether a computer could be the next Mario Andretti. The planned Indy Autonomous Challenge--taking place in October 2021 in Indianapolis--is intended for 31 university computer science and engineering teams to push the limits of current self-driving car technology. There will be no human racers sitting inside the cramped cockpits of the Dallara IL-15 race cars. Instead, onboard computer systems will take their place, outfitted with deep-learning software enabling the vehicles to drive themselves. In order to win, a team's autonomous car must be able to complete 20 laps--which equates to a little less than 50 miles in distance--and cross the finish line first in 25 minutes or less.
Deep learning architectures such as recurrent neural networks and convolutional neural networks have seen many significant improvements and have been applied in the fields of computer vision, speech recognition, natural language processing, audio recognition and more. The most commonly used optimization method for training highly complex and non-convex DNNs is stochastic gradient descent (SGD) or some variant of it. DNNs however typically have some non-convex objective functions which are a bit difficult optimize with SGD. Thus, SGD, at best, finds a local minimum of this objective function. Although the solutions of DNNs are a local minima, they have produced great end results.