The self-driving revolution is upon us, with companies inching ever closer to their goal of level four autonomy. Uber just placed an autonomous taxi service in the streets of Pittsburgh, NuTonomy is doing the same thing in Singapore, and Ford plans to sell driverless cars by 2025.
Another player wants to make its own self-driving car, and not for the reason you'd think. Udacity plans to build an autonomous vehicle and completely open-source the whole design. This isn't about charity or generosity, it's about education. The company is working with Didi Chuxing, Mercedes-Benz, Nvidia and Otto to architect a self-driving “nanodegree” program. Udacity offers higher education programs that it creates alongside its partners.
The company wants people to actually build their own self-driving cars, ramping up homegrown self-driving projects. More than just vehicle plans, it will also be releasing driving data and the necessary code.
The startup is the brainchild of Sebastian Thrun, who got the self-driving program over at Google rolling.
Udacity wants to fill a need that is currently growing in the tech industry with this degree. Since developing self-driving cars is a relatively new field, there is a noticeable lack of people with the skill set to work on them. It is worth noting that Udacity’s program is not formally accredited. However, there’s a full money-back guarantee, if you don’t find a job.
Thrun actually values people with autonomous vehicle know-how at $10 million each, based on acquisitions by Uber and GM, of Otto and Cruise, respectively. When companies buy self-driving startups, they don't just buy technology, they're buying talent as well.