Peter Thiel May Finally Get His Flying Cars, Thanks to a New Udacity...

Digital Learning

Peter Thiel May Finally Get His Flying Cars, Thanks to a New Udacity Nanodegree in 2018

By Tony Wan     Sep 19, 2017

Peter Thiel May Finally Get His Flying Cars, Thanks to a New Udacity Nanodegree in 2018

Peter Thiel once complained he was promised flying cars, but had to settle for 140 characters instead. Perhaps the Silicon Valley tech billionaire should learn how to build one himself—and sign up for a class from Udacity.

At the TechCrunch Disrupt conference this week in San Francisco, the Mountain View, Calif.-based company announced two new “nanodegree” offerings: an introductory program for self-driving cars and, yes, another one for flying cars.

Udacity already offers a self-driving car nanodegree but, as its founder and former CEO Sebastian Thrun writes, it “has many prerequisites [and] is built for seasoned software engineers.” This four-month intro course, which starts on Oct. 10, only requires students to know algebra and have basic programming experience in languages such as C++ and Python. Lyft will also be offering 400 full scholarships for this program. (You can apply for a scholarship here.)

Students who complete this introductory course will be eligible to enroll in the more advanced Self-Driving Car or Robotics nanodegree programs. Thrun claims that “that nearly 60 students [in the former program] have already found new jobs at companies like BMW, Lockheed Martin, NIO, Volvo and Amazon Robotics.” The self-driving car program, launched last September, currently has 10,000 students enrolled (from 42,000 applicants), and the first cohort from this group is set to graduate on Oct. 16.

The flying car offering, well, hasn’t quite taken off yet. (Sorry, Peter.) You’ll have to wait until early 2018, says Thrun, who says he is currently developing the curriculum with Kiva Systems co-founder Raff D’Andrea and a pair of aerospace professors—Angela Schoellig (University of Toronto) and Nicholas Roy (M.I.T.) Roy has more details about the program in this blog post.

Founded in 2012, Udacity initially sought to work with universities as a provider of massive online open courses (MOOCs). A year later it pivoted, and now focuses on training students with skills to land jobs at big tech firms including AT&T, Didi Chuxing, and Google. The company claims it has served more than 53,000 nanodegree students and 18,000 graduates.

To top today’s round of announcements off, Udacity enlisted professional race car driver Danica Patrick as a spokesperson. (So, when will robots learn to make left turns fast enough to dominate NASCAR?)

Learn more about EdSurge operations, ethics and policies here. Learn more about EdSurge supporters here.

More from EdSurge

Get our email newsletterSign me up
Keep up to date with our email newsletterSign me up