The Quest to Engineer the Self-Driving Car: Expanded Partnership with Mercedes-Benz

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To train the next generation of engineering talent in self-driving car technology, lifelong learning pioneer Udacity is further expanding its learning partnership with Mercedes-Benz Research & Development North America (MBRDNA). Today, we are excited to announce the Sensor Fusion Engineer Nanodegree program, built in collaboration with Mercedes-Benz. Mercedes-Benz was the first automotive manufacturer to open a research and development center in Silicon Valley in 1995. In September 2014, MBRDNA became one of the first automotive manufacturers to be issued with an official license by the state of California for testing self-driving vehicles on public roads.

“Sensor fusion is a crucial component of autonomous vehicles at Mercedes-Benz,” said Michael Maile, Manager of the Sensor Fusion and Localization team at MBRDNA. “Our partnership with Udacity is offering a great way of teaching engineers how to work with lidar, radar, and camera sensors to perceive the driving environment.”

Udacity first partnered with the Silicon-Valley based MBRDNA team in 2016 to build its Self-Driving Car Engineer Nanodegree program. Since then, the program has seen 21,000+ enrollments in over 120 countries. Many of these graduates have landed new jobs with employers including Audi, BMW, Bosch, Jaguar Land Rover, Lyft, NVIDIA and, of course, Mercedes-Benz. To date, Mercedes employs over 40 Nanodegree program graduates around the world. A group of current MBRDNA employees are currently enrolled in the program as part of an Enterprise training pilot at their headquarters in Sunnyvale, California.

Creating the Sensor Fusion Engineer Nanodegree program involved the Mercedes-Benz research teams working closely with Udacity course creators to develop a cutting edge curriculum of the new Sensor Fusion Engineer Nanodegree program. Enrollment for this program opens on May 21. The program is comprised of four courses and is intended to take approximately four months to complete.

In this Nanodegree program, students will complete projects in lidar obstacle detection, radar obstacle detection, camera and lidar data fusion, and Kalman Filters. Students will have a unique opportunity to learn the most innovative autonomous driving technologies from the autonomous driving team at Mercedes-Benz and self-driving car experts at Udacity, including Sebastian Thrun, a pioneer of self-driving car technologies and founder of Udacity.

“I have been working on self-driving cars for almost 15 years because I dream of a world where transportation is safe, fun and accessible to all,” said Sebastian Thrun, Founder, President and Executive Chairman at Udacity. “Mercedes-Benz is pioneering some of the most audacious innovations in this field and we are thrilled to partner with them once again.”

In 2016, Udacity was the first place to offer self-driving car engineering education programs. Since then, Udacity has partnered with the leading companies in the field to offer world-class curriculum in the field, expert instructors, and unique hiring opportunities: Udacity’s Intro to Self-Driving Cars Nanodegree program lets anyone with minimal programming experience taste the thrills of building self-driving cars. Successful graduates of Udacity’s Flying Car Nanodegree program join a growing vanguard of highly-skilled autonomous flight engineers. As part of the Self-Driving Car Engineer Nanodegree program, students can learn online — and then test their skills in the real world — including on the company’s own self-driving car in a Silicon Valley test lot.

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David Silver
David Silver
David Silver leads the Self-Driving Car Engineer Nanodegree Program. Before Udacity, David was a research engineer on the autonomous vehicle team at Ford. He has an MBA from Stanford, and a BSE in computer science from Princeton.