The International Consumer Electronics Show (CES) bills itself as “The Global Stage for Innovation,” and by pretty much all measurements, the event lives up to the hype, and has done so for decades. From the history-making launch of Atari’s 400 and 800 personal computers at the 1979 show, to the debut of the Chevy Bolt in 2016, big announcements happen at CES, and the world watches with rapt attention.
Self-Driving Cars at CES
2017 marked a watershed moment for technology’s coming together with the automotive industry. Multiple self-driving technology announcements captured headlines, and the trend continues in 2018.
At Udacity, we’re very excited by all the developments, especially as we find ourselves right in the middle of all the action! For example, as just reported by CNBC, NVIDIA (a Udacity partner!) announced they are partnering with Uber, Volkswagen and Baidu on numerous important autonomous vehicle initiatives.
Udacity and Baidu at CES
Baidu represents especially exciting news for Udacity. Sebastian Thrun is in attendance at CES, where he gave a keynote speech at Baidu World. Together with Qi Lu, Baidu Group President and Chief Operating Officer, they highlighted Baidu’s work in the fields of AI and Self-Driving Cars, and the role Udacity can play connecting the US and China in a shared effort to nurture AI and autonomous systems talent, grow knowledge, and bring about positive change.
How one Udacity student’s years of grit and determination (plus one well-targeted Tweet!) got him his dream job
The process of launching a new career requires a combination of short- and long-term planning. You need to know where you’re headed, and the steps required to get there. Then, you need to put in the actual effort of advancing along your path. When it works, the process can result in your career dreams coming true. But, making the process work can be challenging. You might be able to visualize yourself in a great career, yet not have any idea how to get there. This can easily lead to frustration over not reaching your goal. Or, you might be working really hard, but without a clear end goal; this can result in a feeling of being adrift, and not knowing where you’re headed.
Today, everything from phones and watches to refrigerators and thermostats are available in “smart” versions. You’ll often see all these devices bundled under the umbrella concept of something called “The Internet of Things,” or IoT. In simplest form, the term refers to what it sounds like: “things” connected to “the internet.”
IoT for Social Good
Despite the simple definition, IoT innovations are exciting, and in some cases even life-changing. For example, SweetSense makes smart sensors for hand-pumps in rural areas to monitor and optimize water flow. Propellor offers a smart inhaler system to help patients manage asthma. Bigbelly is transforming how cities address waste management challenges.
“Everyday” smart devices are also proliferating—speakers, cameras, heaters, doorbells, routers—everything from espresso makers to lawn sprinklers. These are fascinating, but much bigger changes are still to come. It’s one thing for a device on your wrist to count your steps, report them to the cloud, then send back actionable feedback. It’s another thing altogether when we’re talking about cars and trucks on the road.
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.
Our time and our lives are precious to us, and Padmasree Warrior (CEO NIO) has something important to say about that. In a recent blog post on the NIO company website, she states the following:
“Autonomous electric cars will be here sooner than we think, and they will save us time and perhaps even our lives.”
On March 8, 2017, it was announced to the world from the stage of Intersect 2017 that Udacity and DiDi were partnering to sponsor a $100k Self-Driving Car Challenge. To which the world has since responded: challenge accepted!
Over 1000 teams have signed up to compete in the challenge, with registrants coming in from the US, China, India, Canada, Germany, the UK, Japan, and more. The final deadline to register is April 21, 2017 at 11:59 PM PST, but the clock is already ticking! Join the competition today, create or join a team, and get ready, because the first round of the challenge starts on March 22nd!
If you had asked us—back when we first committed to our Intersect 2017 conference theme of Learning for the Jobs of Today, Tomorrow, and Beyond—which “category” Self-Driving Car jobs belonged in, we might have been tempted to say “beyond.” As we’re learning, however, nothing could be further from the truth!