You can now earn a degree in self-driving cars

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You can now earn a degree in self-driving cars

You can now earn a degree in ‘self-driving cars’ courtesy of Lyft and Udacity

Lyft is a transportation network company based in San Francisco, California, which develops, markets and operates the Lyft car transportation mobile app. Udacity is a for-profit online teaching startup who originally focused on offering university-style courses and now focuses on vocational courses for professionals.

These two organisations have collaborated on the new self-driving degree course. To complete the course, all you need is four months and $800 to enroll.

Udacity has opened registration for their new “Intro to Self-Driving Cars” course to anyone in the world who has access to the internet.

The four-month course is what is considered a “nanodegree” course aimed particularly at those in the tech world. Lyft and Udacity are offering 400 scholarships specifically targeted at students from underrepresented communities in the tech world.

In order to do the course,  the student should have some programming experience (e.g. C++, Python) and algebra. The course will equip students with the necessary skills to land a job in the fast-growing autonomous vehicle market.

There is an enormous market for self-driving car engineers at the moment as the rush to develop self-driving car technologies is fueling lucrative deals for tech startups specializing in AI, robotics, and vision hardware.

With the rapid increase in self-driving autonomous technologies, it is creating a strain on applied science schools to produce the talent needed to design and build these vehicles.

Salaries for these self-driving engineering positions in the USA are ranging from $200,000 to $400,000 and the number of students seeking to specialize in self-driving vehicles is predicted to grow exponentially.

Udacity, believe they are uniquely positioned to fill this self-driving educational need. The online educational school was first launched in 2011 and they specialise in whats termed micro-credentials certification courses designed to make applicants ready for the workforce.

The founder and president of Udacity, Sebastian Thrun, was the first leader of Google’s Self-Driving Car project. He got that particular job after managing Stanford’s winning team in the Defense Department’s DARPA competitions, the legendary 2005 Grand Challenge and 2007 Urban Challenge that gave rise to many of the autonomous vehicles we see in operation around the world today. Thrun says in a video marketing Udacity’s nanodegree program.
“There is an enormous market for engineers of self-driving cars...Lots and lots of companies that you wouldn’t suspect have entered that field and are massively hiring.”

The Self-Driving Car Engineer Nanodegree program kicked off one year ago and since then more than 43,000 people have applied and over 10,000 students have enrolled from 50 countries.

According to Udacity, nearly 60 of the nanodegree program’s students have already landed new jobs, even before graduating later on this year.

Lyft’s interest in funding scholarships for the new intro course isn’t entirely selfless with the ride-hailing company recently announcing its plan to begin building its own software and hardware to power self-driving cars.

Lyft has also announced that it will open a new 50,000-square-foot engineering facility in Palo Alto, California, which it’s calling the “Level 5” center in reference to the most advanced level of autonomous driving.

Their goal is to have “hundreds” of engineers working out of the facility by the end of 2018, and it is hoped that some of the engineers working there will be Udacity graduates.


Justin Kavanagh
Justin Kavanagh is a recognised leader in automotive intelligence and vehicle data supply to the entire motor industry. He has almost 20 years experience in building systems from the ground up. As the Managing Director of Vehicle Management System, he understands the need and importance of trustworthy and reliable vehicle history and advice to both the trade and the public.
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