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Today, Udacity is excited to announce a collaboration with Shell, following the company’s recent initiative to invest in AI. With this collaboration, Shell has chosen Udacity as its education platform of choice to build AI skills at scale. 

The collaboration will advance Shell’s robust AI program (Shell.ai) by allowing employees to apply innovative AI techniques in Shell’s core businesses, covering diverse use cases such as seismic data analysis, predictive maintenance, production optimization, customer loyalty and electric mobility. As part of its digital transformation, Shell is educating its workforce to develop the technologies necessary to deploy AI applications at scale, now employing over 200 data scientists and over 800 citizen data scientists working on AI-related initiatives. Shell’s AI initiatives are already achieving scale – being leveraged in production at Europe’s largest refinery – Pernis, and supporting the loyalty experience of almost 1 million customers in the UK.

We at Udacity understand and see daily that the shelf life of knowledge is becoming shorter and shorter as technologies rapidly evolve. In keeping pace with the latest technology and AI advancements, Udacity is a natural fit for Shell, supporting the company’s workforce needs as it embraces new opportunities ahead. 

In designing this program, we have worked closely with Shell to study and learn from the specific needs of its employees. Udacity experts met with Shell leaders to determine how our courses could map back to their AI goals. We developed a curriculum and engaging course structure, called Nanotracks, to train Shell’s data scientists and engineers in the latest advancements in AI and data science.

“With over 200 AI projects in various stages, Shell has become an industry leader in seeking to adopt AI at scale. This collaboration will only continue the trend, as we seek to leverage Udacity’s world class learning experience for our AI professionals” said Dan Jeavons, General Manager of Data Science at Shell. “Our AI initiative – Shell.ai – seeks to make our existing business more effective and efficient, while also providing more and cleaner energy to meet demands of the fast-growing world population.” 

As such, some of Shell’s goals for this project are to develop AI that:

  • Automatically processes seismic data 
  • Identifies predictive maintenance needs enabling facilities to run more efficiently
  • Optimize production processes through ongoing real-time optimization routines
  • Identifies anomalies within the facilities using machine vision
  • Using IoT sensors to detect the quality of lubricants 
  • Providing better loyalty programs and offers for retail customers
  • Optimizing the charging experience of Electric Mobility customers – making it cheaper and greener
  • Tracking CO2 emissions to automatically identify reduction opportunities

“Our commitment to developing the most cutting-edge AI learning materials made our Nanodegree programs a strong fit for advancing Shell’s AI initiative,” said Sebastian Thrun, Founder, President and Executive Chairman at Udacity. “The scale of the Shell.ai initiative is extremely impressive – one of the largest we have been a part of. We are honored and thrilled that Shell selected Udacity and entrusted us to empower their employees through education. We are excited at the opportunity that this gives us to help to tackle some of the world’s toughest energy challenges.” 

“Udacity’s Deep Learning Nanodegree program transformed my thinking to the point that I have recommended it to at least 100 people,” said Yaqing Fan, a petroleum engineer at Shell and a Udacity student. “Taking this course was critical in enabling me to articulate to my teams the goals of Shell’s global development projects.” 

By launching this program with Shell, Udacity is taking another step towards our mission to power careers through tech education. A warm welcome to all the new learners at Shell. We look forward to watching your continued progress and seeing what you will build. Thank you for learning with Udacity!

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