Sep 19, 2017

Udacity adding new degrees on self-driving and "flying" cars

Courtesy of Udacity

Self-driving cars are a growing industry but not a common field of study in traditional colleges. Udacity, which debuted an online education program last year to help fill the jobs demand, is now adding an introductory "nanodegree" on the topic. It will also add a nanodegree next year inspired by the nascent "flying car" industry.

Remember: Today we discuss self-driving cars as a certain future, but "this wasn't the case 3 years ago," Udacity co-founder and president Sebastian Thrun told Axios. Thrun was one of the earliest to work on Google's self-driving technology and a winner of the DARPA Grand Challenge.

  • "Now I get the same reaction about flying cars," he adds. "You should skate where the puck is going."

"Education is so much more than job placement, but for Udacity it's job placement," said Thrun. "In the future, tech is gonna move faster and faster so we're gonna lose our skills faster. We can't afford to go to college every time."

  • Udacity's courses and degrees are designed based on what employers want. "We say 'what would impress you? What things would a student have to do to impress you?'"
  • With that said, Thrun also believes that online education schools like Udacity don't serve fresh high school graduates who may want to get a fundamental college education. Last year, he said that he'd still want his own son to attend a traditional university.

More: Lyft is sponsoring scholarships for 400 students from underrepresented groups to take Udacity's introductory nanodegree over the next year. Lyft is also a recruiting partner for Udacity's self-driving car degree.

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