Udacity, the online education platform founded in 2011 by computer scientist and former head of Google’s “moonshot” Google X program, Sebastian Thrun, has revealed a slew of new partners for the company’s recently launched autonomous car nanodegree program, including BMW and McLaren Applied Technologies (“McLaren”).
Consisting of three 12-week terms weighing in at $800 each ($2,400 in total), the nine-month self-driving car nanodegree course was officially unveiled last month and covers a range of topics aimed at giving developers a way into the burgeoning self-driving car industry. Topics covered include deep learning, computer vision, sensor fusion, localization, and controllers. Udacity has also produced its own autonomous car that students can work on to test their code — this can be operated remotely, which is pretty much imperative, given that Udacity isn’t a brick-and-mortar institution.
At launch, Udacity had a number of big-name hiring partners on board, including Nvidia, which recently introduced a new chip and deep-learning platform for self-driving cars; Mercedes-Benz, which has been working on autonomous car technology for some time; Didi Chuxing, which recently merged with Uber in China; and Otto, a recent Uber acquisition that’s building self-driving truck technology. Now, Udacity has 10 new partners queuing up to tap graduates emerging from the course. These are:
- McLaren Applied Technologies
- Local Motors
More than 13,000 applications have been received for the nanodegree program, according to Udacity. The first round of classes is scheduled to kick off on October 27 with 500 students. The second and third groups are penciled in for November 28 and December 12 and will accommodate 1,500 and 2,500 students, respectively.
There are already listings for at least 2,000 jobs related to self-driving cars in the U.S., with some estimates reckoning the driverless car market will be worth $42 billion by 2025. Udacity is pushing to serve what will likely be a lucrative industry — one where the automotive and technology industries will converge. Indeed, earlier this year, NuTonomy put the world’s first public self-driving taxi to work in Singapore, followed soon after by Uber in the U.S.