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Sebastian Thrun, Udacity Talks

Now that the news is out, we can tell you that the reason we moved Sebastian to the guest chair for Udacity Talks this week is so that we can have him talk about Self-Driving Cars!

RSVP Today for Udacity Talks with Sebastian Thrun! 9/15/2016, 4pm PDT

The Self-Driving Car Engineer Nanodegree Program

Yesterday’s launch announcement for the new Self-Driving Car Engineer Nanodegree program was a truly astonishing event for all at Udacity, and hopefully for all of you as well! From the moment Sebastian emerged at TechCrunch Disrupt 2016, it’s been non-stop excitement, and at last count, nearly 3000 people have applied to enroll!

Clearly, interest is incredibly high when it comes to the subject of autonomous vehicles, and we’re looking SO forward to Sebastian taking everyone’s questions tomorrow during this very special episode of Udacity Talks!

YOUR Questions on Udacity Talks!

Which brings up a very important point. YOU can send in questions for Sebastian to answer, and there is still time to get yours into the queue. Just RSVP today, and you’ll receive an email confirmation that includes a link to send in your questions. This is YOUR chance to ask the man widely referred to as “the father of the self-driving car” anything you want about autonomous vehicles, our new program, and the future of this world-changing technology!

From Grand Challenge to Nanodegree Program

We published a blog post yesterday written by Sebastian, in which he details his history with self-driving car technology—a journey that began, of all places, in the Mojave Desert!

In 2004, DARPA held the first Grand Challenge for an autonomous car to drive 142 miles through the Mojave desert in under 10 hours. Fifteen cars participated, none finished. In 2005, the Challenge was repeated and 23 cars entered. Four finished under 10 hours and our car “Stanley” won in 6 hours and 53 minutes—11 minutes ahead of the next car. Then, in 2010, the Google self-driving car navigated 1,000 miles of public roads in California, an unbelievable advance from that first challenge.

DARPA Grand Challenge Winner "Stanley"

DARPA Grand Challenge Winner “Stanley”

Calling All Inventors, Dreamers, and Mavericks!

Today, we are seeing unbelievable advances yet again, and the future holds many more, to be sure. Particularly as a new generation of engineers moves into the field—through programs like the Self-Driving Engineer Nanodegree program—we’re going to see amazing innovations coming faster and faster. In many ways, Sebastian’s post was a sort of global exhortation to all those with the capacity to dream, the will to learn, and the drive to succeed:

To make autonomous vehicles a reality we will need the best inventors, dreamers and mavericks to come into this field from wherever they might be in the world.

This special edition of Udacity Talks presents a unique opportunity to engage on the subject of self-driving vehicles with someone whose passion is helping to drive this remarkable technology forward. Please join in the conversation and RSVP today!

Chris Morell
Chris Morell
Writer, content creator and storyteller dabbling in code. Tweet me with your favorite coffee brewing techniques and/or quotes from The Wire.