Udacity, the Silicon Valley-based, life-long learning platform, has announced the launch of two new courses—Introduction to Self-Driving Cars Nanodegree Program, and Flying Car Nanodegree Program—to push beyond the current generation of quadrotors and remote-controlled drones, and give students the skills to create autonomous flight vehicles that will be crucial to the transportation systems of the future. The Flying Car course will be introduced in the coming months, as Udacity builds up the curriculum in collaboration with experts in the aerospace industry, including Nicholas Roy (MIT Professor of Aeronautics and Astronautics), Raffaelo D’Andrea (ETH Zurich Professor of Dynamic Systems and Control, Co-founder of Kiva Systems, now Amazon Robotics), Angela Schoellig (University of Toronto Institute for Aerospace Studies) and Udacity founder Sebastian Thrun, well-known for his work in the field of autonomy. This course will open in early 2018.
Speaking about the purpose and motivation behind the Flying Car course, Thrun said, “I envision a (future) where you hop in a thing, go in the air, and fly in a straight line. I envision a future where Amazon delivers my food in the air in five minutes. The air is so free of stuff and is so unused compared to the ground, it has to happen in my opinion.” The Intro to Self-Driving Cars course has opened registrations to anyone in the world with an internet connection, without application restrictions. The goal is to bring the thrill of building self-driving cars to anyone with minimal programming experience and make students understand the essentials of programming a self-driving car: from machine learning to object-oriented programming to probabilistic robots. The only prerequisites are basic programming experience (C++ or Python familiarity) and algebra. Students who complete this course will be eligible for enrolment into Udacity’s job-ready Self-Driving Car or Robotics Nanodegree.