Convenient that we just revealed self-taught autonomous car creator Geohot will be at Disrupt: Now you, too, can become a self-driving vehicle engineer, in one year, using Udacity’s newly announced nanodegree (via Recode).
Udacity is the online education startup helmed by Sebastian Thrun, a former Google employee who actually helped kick off that company’s self-driving car program before leaving to found his own venture. Thrun’s expertise should help ensure that Udacity’s program has solid educational substance, and Udacity’s nanodegree program (like a condensed, self-directed diploma) in general gets high praise from the likes of Google, which is a partner for some programs.
This self-driving car program takes a bit longer than the average nanodegree, which is typically in the range of a few months. But becoming a self-driving car engineer should logically require more time than learning to build your own “Hello World!” iOS or Android app.
Thrun’s explanation for the program’s introduction is that there are many companies currently seeking this talent, according to the introductory video above. We’ve definitely seen a range of companies express interest in self-driving technologies, including a very fresh example in Elon Musk’s ‘master plan part deux’ for Tesla, which includes the eventual shift to a rolling fleet of autonomous Teslas that go where needed and pay back owners for their investment through passenger fees.
Demand is only likely to pick up, but what I’d really like to see is what kind of self-driving vehicle the first graduate from this program can produce. Consider a challenge issued, Udacity students.