Udacity Fuels Autonomous Vehicle Engineering Dreams


Online education company Udacity on Tuesday introduced a new “nanodegree” program in self-driving auto engineering. President Sebastian Thrun made the announcement during an interview at TechCrunch Disrupt.

The goal is to build a crowdsourced, open source self-driving car, he said.

The program is the first of its kind, according to Thrun.

Students will learn the skills and techniques used by self-driving car teams at the most innovative companies in the world, Udacity has promised. The course spans three 12-week terms and covers deep learning, computer vision, sensor fusion, localization and controllers.

Each of the three terms will cost US$800. The first term begins in mid-October.

Registration is now open for the 250 seats available. More than 1,200 applicants have applied so far, according to Udacity spokesperson Jeanne Hornung.

Students are expected to have prior experience in Python or another scripting language and at least some background in probability, statistics and calculus. Scholarships are available for qualified applicants.

Thrun will teach the courses, along with David Silver, who was an autonomous vehicle engineer at Ford before joining Udacity, and Ryan Keenan, who previously worked as a freelance data analyst.

Thrun is a pioneer in the development of the self-driving car. While at Stanford, he led the team that built the autonomous car Stanley, which won the 2005 DARPA Grand Challenge. He also was a leader at Google X.

Udacity Fuels Autonomous Vehicle Engineering Dreams