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?

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.

Ford to expand autonomous-car research in race to launch robo-taxi service

Ford is in a race with Waymo and GM Cruise to launch large-scale taxi and delivery services using autonomous vehicles. Already testing its technology in four U.S. cities, the automaker looks set to expand its program to a fifth.

Nearly 3 in 4 Americans are reportedly afraid of self-driving cars, study says

The latest AAA consumer survey finds most Americans fear self-driving cars. Few people would trust autonomous vehicles to transport people they care about. However, 53 percent of consumers think most cars will be fully autonomous by 2029.

Amazon and Kia team up to simplify EV home-charging station installs

Kia Motors announced a new program with Amazon for electric vehicles. Customers planning to purchase a new Kia EV or PHEV can check out recommended Level 2 240-volt home charging stations and arrange installation in their homes.

Unrestrained by heritage, Polestar sets its sights on becoming a digital brand

With no heritage to worry about, Polestar is free to move full-speed ahead towards its goal of becoming a digital brand. All of the company's upcoming models will be electric, and they will inaugurate an Android-powered infotainment system.

Audi’s traffic light information system shows the challenges facing V2X tech

Audi’s traffic light information system is among the first commercial applications of potentially game-changing V2X tech. So how does it work in the real world? We spent a few days getting stuck at red lights to find out.
Emerging Tech

Awesome Tech You Can’t Buy Yet: Write music with your voice, make homemade cheese

Check out our roundup of the best new crowdfunding projects and product announcements that hit the web this week. You may not be able to buy this stuff yet, but it sure is fun to gawk!

Fisker plans sub-$40,000 electric SUV with 300 miles of range for 2021

Fisker Inc. plans to launch an electric SUV with a base price of under $40,000, and a range of around 300 miles in 2021. The unnamed vehicle could compete with the Tesla Model Y, if it ever gets into production.

Tesla gives us a cryptic look at its cyberpunk, Blade Runner-inspired pickup

Tesla has started designing its long-promised pickup truck. The yet-unnamed model will come with dual-motor all-wheel drive and lots of torque, plus it will be able to park itself. It could make its debut in 2019.

2020 Cadillac CT5 luxury sedan gets turbocharged power, chiseled looks

The 2020 Cadillac CT5 replaces the CTS in the General Motors luxury brand's lineup. Cadillac will unveil the CT5 at the 2019 New York Auto Show in April. Until then, it's keeping most details under wraps.

Bentley’s 542-horsepower Continental GT V8 is the best kind of downsizing

The Bentley Continental GT V8 has fewer cylinders than its W12 sibling, but Bentley expects it to offer better gas mileage and more agile handling. The V8's top speed of 198 mph is also pretty darn fast.
Emerging Tech

Racing to catch a flight? Robot valet at French airport will park your car

Hate searching for parking at the airport when you need to catch a plane? Startup Stanley Robotics recently unveiled a new outdoor automated robotic valet system. Here's how it works.

Mercedes wants to turn your car into a comfortable shopping mall on wheels

Mercedes-Benz designed its MBUX infotainment system with e-commerce in mind. Motorists can upgrade compatible cars via an over-the-air software updating system, but the brand wants to take this technology to the next level.