How do the Flying Car and Self-Driving Car Engineer Nanodegree Programs Differ?
There are many similarities in the technical challenges that need to be addressed when building any autonomous vehicle, whether it’s designed to travel in the air, on the ground, or underwater.
But there are key differences as well—different technologies that represent the “big rocks” that need to be overcome—and it is these differences that inform the content and structures of our two advanced smart transportation programs: the Flying Car Nanodegree program, and the Self-Driving Car Engineer Nanodegree program.
It’s 3:35 pm on November 30, 2017. We’re 25 minutes away from the start of “Crossing the Finish Line,” a special event celebrating the pioneering accomplishments of the first graduates of our Self-Driving Car Engineer Nanodegree program.
As I stand now in the event space, I hear microphone checks through the PA, and the clink of glassware as event staff polish the crystal. I see featured speakers going over speech notes in quiet corners, and I catch a glimpse of the cameraman testing the lighting from the back of the room.
It’s a quiet bustle of activity in here, but this isn’t really where my attention is focused. I’m watching the front entryway, where a line of attendees is starting to form.
How Udacity student Megha Maheshwari transformed her early passion for engineering into an autonomous vehicle career
At first glance, it may seem an inevitability that Megha Maheshwari should become an engineer. Both her brother and uncle pursued technical careers, and her mother instilled in her a strong sense of independence at an early age:
“I was inspired to become an engineer and most importantly, my Mother, as a working parent, had always groomed me to become an independent women—carving my own path in the direction of whatever career I chose. That always kept me moving forward.”
But despite a strong family network, early industry exposure, and an independent spirit, it would still be a long and remarkable journey for Megha—from growing up in India, to becoming a student of the Self-Driving Car Engineer Nanodegree program at Udacity, to landing a job with Volvo Cars Silicon Valley R&D Tech Center in Mountain View, CA. Her dedication, growth mindset, and tenacity would be tested many times along the way. She took risks, faced down challenges, and weathered disappointments, but ultimately, she realized her dreams.
This is her story.
The Bosch Group is the world’s largest automotive supplier and they are taking bold actions to achieve their mission of bringing level 5 autonomous vehicles to market by 2021. As well as investing $1.1 billion into a new, self-driving car chip manufacturing plant, they are also investing heavily in talent.
To help Bosch meet the demands of their growing Automated Driving team, Udacity is pleased to announce a Path Planning Challenge sponsored by Bosch, which will give actively enrolled students in our Self-Driving Car Engineer Nanodegree program the opportunity to showcase their skills and earn an interview for a Planning Engineer role with Bosch’s Automated Driving team.
Companies operating in the field of Self-Driving vehicles face a unique set of challenges when it comes to finding qualified talent. First off, the technology itself is in its infancy, so the talent pool of experienced professionals with specific skillsets is limited right from the start. Next, even for those who have the right skills, only so many have hands-on experience with self-driving systems. There simply aren’t that many opportunities to gain this kind of experience. Udacity’s Self-Driving Car Engineer Nanodegree program is virtually the only program of its kind to provide this kind of 360 learning experience—one that allows professionals to develop the in-demand skills and gain actual hands-on experience with self-driving systems. That’s why companies like AutonomouStuff are partnering with Udacity to find talent.
From the start, industry partnerships have played an important role in the development of our Self-Driving Car Engineer Nanodegree program, and these partnerships are an integral part of the program’s groundbreaking success.
Hiring partnerships with industry leaders such as Mercedes-Benz, NVIDIA, BMW, and Bosch enable us to achieve our goal of directly connecting learning to jobs, and the companies with whom we develop our world-class curriculum help us ensure our students are mastering the most valuable skills in the industry.
Announcing new Elektrobit content
Today, we’re extremely excited to announce that Elektrobit, one of our program’s hiring partners, will now be contributing content for the program as well! Elektrobit is a leading developer of embedded and connected technology solutions for the automotive industry, and will be developing program content on automotive functional safety.
We’re excited to announce the start of a new scholarship program designed to provide learning opportunities for recipients to make the world a better and safer place for everyone.
In the case of this very special scholarship, we also have the opportunity to honor the great work of our partner, Liam’s Life Foundation. Last week, three students started studying in the Self-Driving Car Engineer Nanodegree program. Each of them is receiving a full scholarship to the program, in honor of Liam Mikael Kowal, a 15-month old toddler who was struck and killed by a drunk driver in Southern California in September 2016. Though drunk driving is preventable, a person loses their life to a drunk driving accident every 53 minutes. This amounts to 28 people a day and nearly 10,000 people a year in the United States alone.