Udacity, Mercedes-Benz, others launch self-driving car nanodegree program

If you’re yearning to work in the self-driving car industry, Udacity‘s new coursework could help you do just that. Starting Tuesday, Udacity is offering a self-driving car nanodegree program, according to VentureBeat.

Udacity, a massive open online course (MOOC) company, has enrolled more than four million students in its free courses and more than 11,000 participants in nanodegree programs. A nanodegree is an online certification program where people enroll for credit. Though it is one of many such companies around the world, Udacity is unique because of its founder.

Sebastian Thrun, Udacity’s founder and CEO, previously ran Google X, the company’s moonshot program. In addition to kicking off Google Glass and artificial intelligence programs, Google X was also the origin of Google’s self-driving car project under Thrun.

The program runs for nine months, with three 12-week terms. Each term costs $800, so the whole course totals $2,400. Topics include deep learning, computer vision, sensor fusion, localization, and controllers. A Udacity self-driving car will be available so students can test code remotely.

Partners on board with Udacity’s self-driving nanodegree program include prominent players in the self-driving car arena. Mercedes-Benz, Nvidia, Uber’s recent self-driving truck technology acquisition Otto, and Didi Chuxing (which recently merged with Uber’s ride-hailing business in China) will participate in running the program.

According to VentureBeat, the driverless car market is estimated to be $42 billion by 2025.

“Technology companies, automotive manufacturers, media giants, and startups around the world are rapidly pushing new advances in this space, whether it be hardware or software,” Thrun wrote in Udacity’s blog. “And, they all need talent. If autonomous cars succeed, they will change the way we think about transportation, retail, insurance, and the way we, as consumers, go about our daily lives.”

Not all students who apply will be accepted into Udacity’s self-driving nanodegree program. You can apply for one of the 250 available seats at this link. Those accepted should be contacted by October 3, according to VentureBeat. Classes begin in mid-October.


Automakers are spending billions on self-driving technology people are afraid of

Automakers are spending billions of dollars on developing the technology that will power self-driving cars, but research shows consumers have no interest in giving up control. Will they ever recoup their investment?

Autonomous shuttle rides coming to New York City via Optimus Ride

Workers at the Brooklyn Navy Yard in NY City will soon be able to make their way around the 300-acre industrial park in Optimus Ride's self-driving shuttles. The tech startup says it's the first trial of its kind in the state.

Waymo boosts robo-taxi plans with new service center in Arizona

Waymo has announced plans for a facility in Phoenix, Arizona, that will help to service, maintain, and grow its fleet of autonomous Waymo One cars. The vehicles operate as part of the company's robo-taxi ridesharing service.

Nuro’s awesome robot delivery pods are tootling into Texas

Robo-delivery startup Nuro is taking its cool-looking autonomous delivery pods to Texas. The pods will deliver Kroger groceries to customers' doors in Houston following a successful pilot program in Scottsdale, Arizona.

Tesla wirelessly gives the Model 3 a 5-percent increase in power

Tesla again showed the potential of its innovative over-the-air software updating system by making the Model 3 five percent more powerful via a firmware update. The Performance model gained 23 horsepower.

Fiat wants to transform the cheeky 500 city car into an urban Tesla

Fiat is finally preparing a new 500. Scheduled to make its debut in early 2020, the retro-chic city car will go electric in part to comply with looming emissions regulations.
Product Review

Who needs a Range Rover? BMW’s X7 has better tech and just as much luxury

The 2019 BMW X7 is the German automaker’s long-overdue entry into the full-size luxury SUV segment. Packing three rows of seats and plenty of tech, can the new BMW take on Mercedes-Benz and Land Rover?

Say goodbye to Uber for good: Here's how to cut ties with the ridesharing service

If you thought that deleting the Uber app would also delete your account, think again. You'll have to deactivate your account, then wait 30 days in order to do so. Here, we outlined how to delete your Uber account once and for all.

FWD vs. RWD vs. AWD: How the wheels that turn change the way you drive

Let's face it, you've likely heard front-, rear-, and all-wheel drive mentioned before in some context or another. But what do these terms mean, especially in terms of performance? We’ve got the answers.

Shift it yourself: How to drive stick in a manual transmission car

Driving a manual transmission car might seem intimidating at first, but it's not as difficult as you might think. Knowing how to operate this type of gearbox will serve you well. Here's everything you need to know to learn how to drive…

Vivint’s Car Guard keeps tabs on your vehicle when you’re not in it

A simple plug-in that you can place in just about any vehicle, Vivint's new Car Guard will automatically detect if your car is bumped, towed, or stolen and will alert you about it.

2020 Mercedes-Benz GLC coupe gets a tech upgrade, keeps quirky styling

The 2020 Mercedes-Benz GLC coupe debuts at the 2019 New York Auto Show with an upgraded infotainment system that incorporates Mercedes' digital assistant. The SUV launches later this year with turbocharged four-cylinder power.

This modified Land Rover Discovery is heading to Africa to help fight malaria

A Land Rover Discovery will be used by the Mobile Malaria Project for a 3,900-mile trek across Africa to study malaria. The SUV is equipped with a mobile gene-sequencing laboratory, as well as everything necessary for serious off-roading.

Volvo wants to use speed limiters, in-car cameras, and data to reduce crashes

Volvo believes new tech is the best way to improve car safety. The Swedish automaker will let owners set speed limits when loaning out their cars, install cameras to monitor drivers, and use data to design better safety features.