Feb 7, 2019

How to program a self-driving car

Illustration: Aïda Amer/Axios

If you've got a decent background in math, you can learn how to program a self-driving car through a new online program offered by Coursera in partnership with the University of Toronto, a leading hub for AV research.

Why it matters: Coursera aims to get more people interested in AV engineering and claims, "The next big job boom is right around the corner."

Quick take: While its predictions of a $42 billion market and more than 20 million self-driving cars on the road by 2025 seem unlikely, AVs are still a growing field demanding a new kind of workforce.

Details: The AV specialization consists of 4 courses taught by 2 professors from the University of Toronto Institute for Aerospace Studies.

  • It starts with "Introduction to Self-Driving Cars."
  • Each self-paced course takes 4–6 weeks, after which you receive a certificate of completion.
  • It will take 4–6 months to complete all the courses, after which Coursera says you'll be able to build your own self-driving software stack and apply for jobs in AV technology.
  • The fee is $79 per month, but it's free to audit without earning a certificate.

Not just anyone can apply. It's recommended that you have some background in linear algebra, probability, statistics, calculus, physics, control theory, and Python programming.

My thought bubble: What could possibly go wrong by unleashing a bunch of math nerds to program their own self-driving cars in their garage?

Go deeper: The great auto disruption

Go deeper

Inside Trump's antifa tweet

President Trump at Cape Canaveral on May 30. Photo: Paul Hennessy/SOPA Images/LightRocket via Getty Images

As recently as Saturday night, senior administration officials told me that the designation of a violent cohort of far-left activists, antifa, as a terrorist organization was not being seriously discussed at the White House. But that was Saturday.

Behind the scenes: The situation changed dramatically a few hours later, after prominent conservative allies of the president, such as his friend media commentator Dan Bongino, publicly urged a tough response against people associated with antifa (short for "anti-fascist").

U.S. enters 6th day of nationwide protests over George Floyd's killing

A protest in Philadelphia on May 31. Photo: Mark Makela/Getty Images

Protests continued across the country for the sixth day in a row on Sunday, as demonstrators called for justice in response to the deaths of George Floyd, EMT Breonna Taylor, jogger Ahmaud Arbery and countless other black Americans who have suffered at the hands of racism and police brutality.

What's happening: Protestors in D.C. broke one police barricade outside the White House on Sunday evening after reportedly demonstrating for several hours. The atmosphere was still largely peaceful as of 6pm ET.

Trump privately scolded, warned by allies

Illustration: Aïda Amer/Axios. Photo: Win McNamee/Getty Images

Over the past couple of days, numerous advisers both inside and outside the White House have urged the president to tone down his violent rhetoric, which many worry could escalate racial tensions and hurt him politically.

Behind the scenes: The biggest source of internal concern was Trump's escalatory tweet, "when the looting starts, the shooting starts." Some advisers said it could damage him severely with independent voters and suburban women.