Optus 5G takes to the track in Bathurst with WAU, AWS


Lead driver from Walkinshaw Andretti United (WAU), Chaz Mostert took to a different kind of racing track this morning at Bathurst, testing his driving dexterity behind the wheel of a mini race car at the WAU Super-Fast 5 e-racing event.

Open to all Bathurst 1000 attendees, the mini track located at Mount Panorama has been kitted out with Amazon Web Services (AWS) DeepRacer vehicles running over Optus’ super-fast 5G network and 5G standalone technology.

These cars are 1/18th the size of the V8 cars on the track at Bathurst, but thanks to the low latency, high bandwidth, and speed of Optus 5G, they are incredibly responsive as they race around the track.

Chaz Mostert was the first one to put his driving skills in action ahead of Saturday’s Bathurst 1000 race, where he attempted to set the record for the fastest lap time in the WAU Super-Fast 5 e-racing event.

“It was absolutely awesome to jump on the WAU Super-Fast 5, I couldn’t believe how responsive the AWS DeepRacer car is, and how well it all connects together thanks to the super-fast Optus 5G network. It’s definitely sharpened my skills ahead of the weekend,” said Chaz Mostert, Walkinshaw Andretti United Supercars Driver.

“The best thing about the WAU Super-Fast 5 is that everyone here at Bathurst this weekend can come and try it out, it’s so cool to be involved, but to also see people back at track, not only cheering us on but having fun as well. A big thanks to Optus for their support with all of it, everyone at track this weekend should definitely come and see how they go.”

The ultra-responsiveness of Optus 5G standalone technology will enable racegoers to master every thrilling twist and turn of the WAU Super-Fast 5 track. Participants will put their driving prowess to the test, battling it out for pole position over five laps and controlling the cars remotely using real-time vision from cameras mounted on the vehicle.

“These cars might not have the eardrum busting roar of the V8 cars on the track, but they are incredibly responsive thanks to our super-fast 5G network. With the low latency of Optus 5G, the AWS DeepRacer vehicles are able to respond within milliseconds where quick decisions are critical,” said Matt Williams, Managing Director Marketing and Revenue, Optus.

“What we’re demonstrating today is a peek into the future of autonomous vehicles, where the ultra-reliable low latency and high-bandwidth of 5G could allow seamless and responsive car control with high-definition vision streamed back to base.

“This has the potential to open up incredible opportunities in industries like mining and logistics with the sophisticated functions of 5G standalone technology, such as network slicing, supporting real time remote control of vehicles. Perhaps one day we will even see driverless cars take to the tarmac right here in Bathurst!”

AWS DeepRacer is the first autonomous 1/18th scale car specifically developed to help people of all skill levels get hands-on with reinforcement learning, an advanced machine learning (ML) technique. Using cameras to view the track and a reinforcement model to control throttle and steering without stepping behind a wheel, users write code that rewards the car when it does something right – such as staying close to the centre line of the track or turning to avoid obstacles and minimise crashes.

To demonstrate the power of Optus 5G and autonomous racing for this special event, AWS DeepRacer cars are connected to a racing wheel, giving participants a chance battle it out against an autonomous car outfitted with a pre-trained ML model to help the device correctly navigate the course.

“Whether you’re a seasoned professional or just beginning, AWS DeepRacer is the fastest way to get started with machine learning. Today’s event will give participants the opportunity to apply real-life racing strategies to the world of e-racing racing such as hitting the optimal racing line or avoiding obstacles. The aim is to score the fastest lap time possible!” said Paul Devlin, Enterprise Account Manager – Sports, AWS.

“We are excited to work with Optus and Walkinshaw Andretti United to give racegoers the opportunity to go head-to-head with Chaz Mostert on a miniature Bathurst track,” said Devlin.

The WAU Super-Fast 5 e-racing event will start at 1pm AEDT on Thursday 2nd December and will also run between 9am – 5pm AEDT on Friday 3rd and Saturday 4th December. Participation is free.