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  • VRX News (& Releases!)

    See below for all the updates and releases regarding the 2019 VRX competition. Best of luck!

  • #2
    The note below was sent via email to all the registered VRX teams. Please let us know if we need to add your email address to the distribution list.

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    VRX Teams,


    We are pleased to announce the release of Version 1.1 of the VRX Simulation software and competition documents!


    The VRX Simulation should have everything you need to start building your own autonomy solutions to the VRX tasks. This release includes improvements to the physics and visualization, customizable sensor and propulsion configuration and examples of each of the VRX tasks. Get started by following the VRX Tutorials Wiki to setup the software, start example environments and customize your configuration.


    The VRX competition documents provide the information you need to begin designing your solutions to the VRX tasks and creating your competition entry. The documents describe the competition schedule, challenge tasks, interface specifications and how VRX entries will be submitted and evaluate. These two documents (VRX Competition and Task Descriptions and VRX Technical Guide) are available on the VRX Documentation Wiki and the RoboNation VRX Forum.


    We are also announcing the VRX competition schedule which consists of the following three phases:
    • Sept. 23 (M): Phase 1: Hello World
    • Oct. 21 (M): Phase 2: Dress Rehearsal
    • Nov. 22 (F): Phase 3: VRX Challenge

    Detailed descriptions of each phase are available in the VRX Competition and Task Description document.


    As always, if you have questions, issues or contributions, please post them to the VRX Issue Tracker (technical issues) or the RoboNation VRX Forum (general discussions).


    Sincerely,

    The VRX Technical Team:

    Brian, Carlos, Marshall, Michael, Rumman and Tyler
    Last edited by brian.bingham; 10-17-2019, 03:35 PM.

    Comment


    • #3
      We are pleased to announce the release of version 1.2.2 of the VRX simulation software and competition documents!

      This release includes refinements in the wind plugin, waypoint visualization and the addition of object reflections and refractions. For all the details on the changes in the new release, please read the changelog at https://bitbucket.org/osrf/vrx/src/default/Changelog.md

      The VRX competition documents have been updated accordingly and are available at https://bitbucket.org/osrf/vrx/wiki/documentation

      We’ve put together a new highlight video to summarize some of these new capabilities if the VRX simulation: https://youtu.be/0Q2ehhmSz0Q

      We also want to clarify two important aspects before we start the competition:

      1. If possible using VRX combined from source because reflections are not available in pre-built binary packages! Object reflections and refractions have been implemented in VRX 1.2.2. This feature requires Gazebo 9.11 or greater. The VRX Debian binary (.deb) packages are created in the ROS build farm with a Gazebo 9.0 version, therefore this capability is disabled if you are using the pre-build package installation method. Because this feature will be enabled for the competition, we encourage teams to compile VRX from source (or use the Docker installation) to make sure that your perception system takes reflection/refractions into account. All of the options for system setup are documented in the VRX wiki at https://bitbucket.org/osrf/vrx/wiki/tutorials

      2. In order to provide a stable platform for development in support of the VRX challenge, the VRX technical team doesn't plan to add any new features to the simulation until after the competition. New VRX versions will be released only to fix critical bugs.

      Sincerely,
      The VRX Technical Team: Brian, Carlos and Michael

      Comment


      • #4
        The note below was sent via email to all the registered VRX teams. Please let us know if we need to add your email address to the distribution list.

        ---------------------------------------------------------------------------

        VRX Teams,

        Congratulations to the 14 teams that successfully submitted "Hello World" videos demonstrating their use of the VRX simulation environment. As we've reviewed the videos we've been very impressed with where you are at technically - as well as some of the creativity, cinematography and comic relief demonstrated in the productions.

        We plan to post links to all the videos in the next few days. If your team would prefer not to have your video link posted, please let us know by Thursday, 26 September. We encourage everyone to share their progress as you all have much to be proud of.

        The next VRX deadline is October 21, 23:59 PST, Phase 2 - Dress Rehearsal
        In the coming days we will be releasing a number of demonstration worlds for you to practice with. These worlds will vary aspects of the VRX tasks and the environment for you all to exercise your solutions and prepare for the dress rehearsal.

        As always, if you run into issues or have questions, please submit a VRX issue or submit to the VRX forum.

        Congratulations! Hello World is often the most difficult program to write.

        The VRX Technical Team: Brian, Carlos and Michael.

        Comment


        • #5
          After only a few corrections and iterations to the submission process, we have 15 video contributions from VRX teams from all over the world. We’ve posted links to the videos on the VRX Results 2019 Wiki.

          The next VRX deadline is October 21, 23:59 PST, Phase 2 - Dress Rehearsal
          Next week we will be releasing a series of practice worlds (task configurations and environmental conditions) with detailed directions to guide you through local practice.

          We also recommend you begin planning to package your submission as a Docker container (specifics are on the wiki and in the VRX Technical Guide). Containerizing your solution is not something to be left to the last minute.

          All the best,
          VRX Technical Team

          Comment


          • #6
            VRX Phase 2 Update: Reminder for 21 October

            VRX teams,

            We wanted to remind everyone that the deadline for Phase 2 of VRX, the Dress Rehearsal, is Monday, 21 Oct at 2359 PDT.

            We hope that teams have been able to make use of the Task Examples in preparation or their first software submission. We plan to test your solutions in the provided task scenarios and some new, undisclosed scenarios for each task.

            The purpose of this phase is to provide all of the teams with a chance to experiment with submitting their code for automated scoring and review. It will take a few days to run all the trials, but we will provide scoring and log files from the evaluation so that teams can improve for the final phase of VRX. None of the scores from Phase 2 will carry over to the Finals, but it is a good opportunity to make sure we all have the structures in place to complete.

            Looking forward to what everyone comes up with.

            Sincerely,

            The VRX Technical Team: Brian, Carlos, and Michael

            Comment


            • #7
              We are in the middle of VRX Phase 2. We understand that delivering your software can be a large undertaking.

              The purpose of the Phase 2 Dress Rehearsal is to give teams a intermediate deadline to practice the setup and submission process. There is no requirement for the solution to be complete or to be fully functional, but each team needs to submit something for Phase 2 to be eligible for the final Phase 3.

              Please let us know if there is anything we can do to help. We are committed to having VRX be available to as many teams as possible.

              All the best,
              The VRX Technical Team

              Comment


              • #8
                VRX Teams,

                Congratulations to all the teams that successfully submitted autonomy solutions for Phase 2 of the VRX Challenge. There are 12 teams from around the world that submitted entries for Phase 2 and qualified for the final Phase 3 of VRX.

                Of the 12 submission, have passed the initial software testing, verifying that their WAM-V configuration (sensors and propulsion) are compliant with the technical specifications and that their software is properly deployed as a Docker container. A summary of the submissions is available on the Results Wiki.

                We are still running scoring runs on all the entries. We are running all 6 tasks with 6 trials (varying environmental conditions) for each task - 432 scored runs of the simulator. Please keep an eye on your bitbucket pull requests for updates on your team’s submissions. We are trying to work with each team to refine their submissions in preparation for Phase 3 - the finals of the challenge.

                Over the next week we will continue to provide feedback to the teams on their performance in Phase 2 and help them debug any issues with their submissions. We will also be releasing descriptions of the specific environmental conditions for all 36 trials used in Phase 2 so that teams can continue to practice and trail for Phase 3 (the finals). Finally, we plan to produce a few highlight videos to illustrate some of the performance from Phase 2.

                Submissions for Phase 3, the finals, are due on 22 November at 2359 PDT. We look forward to working with you all to get your submissions ready for this last phase of the VRX Challenge.

                The submission process for Phase 3 will be very similar to Phase 2. We plan to incorporate the lessons learned from Phase 2 into this process and will be finalizing the details on the

                The VRX Technical Team
                Brian, Carlos and Michael.

                Comment


                • #9
                  VRX Phase 3 (Finals) Update

                  VRX Teams,

                  We wanted to provide a quick incremental update as we all prepare for the third and final phase of VRX. All teams must submit their final autonomy solutions by the Phase 3 deadline of November 22, 23:59 PST. As described in the Phase 3 Instructions, we have reserved a small amount of time to work with teams on small changes in their submission, but the deadline for the Docker image (the heart of the solution) is firm.

                  We are continuing to work with individual teams on their submissions and updating both the Phase 2 Results and the Phase 2 Lessons Learned. We encourage all the teams to review these wiki pages so that we can improve as we use Phase 2 to prepare for the final competition.

                  As you prepare for the finals we encourage all the teams to continue to use the 36 test scenarios (6 tasks with 6 trials of each task) that were used as the Phase 2 Trials. These are a great way to test your solutions. We are also working on a set of tests for your Docker images to address some of the challenges with packaging your software for remote execution.

                  Please continue to add issues to the VRX issue tracker and post to the VRX forum as we approach the finals. We look forward to seeing all the creative and innovative solutions you come up with.

                  All the best,

                  The VRX Technical Team
                  Brian, Carlos and Michael.

                  Comment


                  • #10
                    VRX teams,

                    Based on the Phase 2 Dress Rehearsal and great comments/questions from the VRX teams, we have clarified and standardized the scoring descriptions. An updated version (1.4) of the “VRX Task and Competition Descriptions” document is posted on the VRX Documentation Wiki (https://bitbucket.org/osrf/vrx/wiki/documentation)

                    The document changes are confined to the scoring sections and the task descriptions (and implementations) remain the same. These changes should not have a large effect on how teams solve challenges, but the additional details may help teams strategize about how to employ effort in the last two weeks before the finals. (Some might be interested in reviewing source code for the scoring plugins at https://bitbucket.org/osrf/vrx/src/d...rx_gazebo/src/.)

                    Please keep asking great questions and let us know how you progress in the final push.

                    All the best,
                    The VRX Technical Team: Brian, Carlos, and Michael

                    Comment


                    • #11
                      VRX teams,

                      We are only three days away from the VRX Challenge deadline. We are preparing the evaluation environment to quickly evaluate everyone’s submissions, including scoring, logging and generating highlight videos. We are excited to see all the creative and innovated solutions teams have come up with.

                      The UF team raised a technical issue this week concerning the coordinate frame offsets between the GPS and IMU sensor frames and the WAM-V origin frame (base_link) – see Issue#118. This was some fantastic technical sleuthing by the UF team to find such a subtle issue. We wanted to make sure that all the teams were aware of the issue just in case it is causing teams any headaches. Both UF and Georgia Tech reporting having independently mitigated the issue on their side. We will not be making a change to the VRX code, since it appears that it doesn’t affect many teams and those for which there is an effect have been able to work around the issue. This is just for your information – if your navigation/localization systems are working there is no need to make any adjustments.

                      Best of luck with the final preparations!

                      The VRX Technical Team: Brian, Carlos, and Michael

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