Nanodegree Program

Flying Cars and Autonomous Flight

Master autonomous flight software engineering skills as you learn about drone robotics, develop sophisticated flying car systems, and write real code for real aircraft.

  • Time
    Two 3-month terms

    Study 15 hrs/week and complete in 6 months

  • Applications Due By
    March 5, 2018
  • Prerequisites
    Mathematics & Programming

    See prerequisites in detail

Why Take This Nanodegree Program?

In this program, you’ll learn from world-class experts, write aircraft-ready code, and tackle real-world challenges ranging from emergency aid to fleet coordination. You’ll master controls, planning, and more. In an increasingly congested world, flying cars look to the skies to provide smart transportation solutions that benefit us all.

Why Take This Nanodegree Program?

Flying cars will return 8 billion valuable commuter hours to U.S. drivers!

World-Class Instructors
World-Class Instructors

World-Class Instructors

Learn from instructors who are leaders in this transformational field. Work with the pioneering thinkers who are actively creating the next-generation of autonomous flight systems.

Cutting-Edge Tools

Cutting-Edge Tools

Work with Udacity’s custom-built flight simulator, and benefit from personalized guidance as you port your code to actual drones and contribute to open source projects.

Groundbreaking Curriculum
Groundbreaking Curriculum

Groundbreaking Curriculum

Master cutting-edge skills in controls, planning, and more. Start writing your own code to solve the real-world problems experts in the field grapple with daily.

Career Growth

Career Growth

Discover rewarding opportunities through our many hiring partnerships, and with the support of our dedicated Careers Team. Gain access to a professional network of experts and advocates.

Learn with the best

Nicholas Roy
Nicholas Roy


Nicholas Roy is a Professor in the Department of Aeronautics & Astronautics, and a member of the Computer Science and Artificial Intelligence Laboratory, at MIT. He also founded Project Wing at X.

Angela Schoellig
Angela Schoellig


Angela is an Assistant Professor at the University of Toronto Institute for Aerospace Studies (UTIAS), and an Associate Director of the Center for Aerial Robotics Research and Education (CARRE) at the University of Toronto.

Sebastian Thrun
Sebastian Thrun


As the founder and president of Udacity, Sebastian’s mission is to democratize education. He is also the founder of Google X, where he led projects including the Self-Driving Car, Google Glass, and more.

Raffaello D’Andrea
Raffaello D’Andrea


Raffaello is a Professor of Dynamic Systems and Control at the Swiss Federal Institute of Technology (ETH) in Zurich. He is also the founder of Verity Studios, and a co-founder of Kiva Systems (now Amazon Robotics).

Jake Lussier
Jake Lussier

Product Lead

Jake is a PhD Candidate in AI at Stanford University focused on robotics, perception, and human-centered design. Prior to serving as Product Lead at Udacity, he founded an early-stage food-technology startup and consulted on flying cars.

Andy Brown
Andy Brown

Curriculum Lead

Andy has a bachelor's degree in physics from MIT, and taught himself to program after college (mostly with Udacity courses). He has been helping Udacity make incredible educational experiences since the early days of the company.

What You Will Learn

Download Syllabus
Term 1

Aerial Robotics

In Term 1, you’ll learn the core concepts required to design and develop robots that fly. You’ll work with the quadrotor test platform and our custom flight simulator to implement planning, control, and estimation solutions.

Work with the quadrotor test platform and our custom flight simulator to implement planning, control, and estimation solutions.

See details

3 Months to complete

Term 2

Intelligent Air Systems

In Term 2, you’ll learn about the full-stack for the entire intelligent air system. You’ll learn about fixed wing aircrafts and optimize “flying car length” missions. You’ll then coordinate entire fleets of flying cars. Finally, you’ll complete an entire “flying city” finale.

Learn about the full-stack for the entire intelligent air system as you complete cutting-edge projects.

See details

3 Months to complete

“Flying Cars and drones are the future of transportation, and they will massively change the world. Autonomous systems are the key to this future. Graduates will be immediately qualified to work in, and shape, this incredible field.”

— Sebastian Thrun
Term 1
Aerial Robotics


Apply controls, estimation, and planning methods to autonomously navigate a quadrotor.

Term 2
Intelligent Air Systems


Learn about flying cars and build the intelligent air system to coordinate autonomous vehicles.

Apply Now


    Flying Car Nanodegree Program FAQ
  • Why should I enroll in the Flying Car Nanodegree program?

    The emerging generation of flying car engineers will reimagine how we move and transform how we live. The Flying Car Nanodegree program will prepare you to be at the forefront of this technological and societal revolution.

    In this program, you’ll learn from world-class experts, work with cutting-edge tools, and tackle real-world challenges ranging from emergency aid to fleet coordination. You’ll master technologies in planning, controls, coordination, and more. Most importantly, you will learn by doing, writing aircraft-ready code that you can to run on your own drones.

    If you’re interested in flying cars, drones, autonomous systems, and/or the future of smart transportation, this program is for you!

  • What kinds of topics will the program cover?
    The program will cover topics including estimation, control, planning, quadrotors, fixed wing aircrafts, system identification, mission optimization, fleet coordination, and more. Check out the complete curriculum here!
  • How is the Flying Car Nanodegree program different from the Robotics Software Engineer or Self-Driving Car Engineer Nanodegree programs?

    The Robotics program provides an introduction to various aspects of robotics including perception, localization, path planning, and control, as well as the Robot Operating System (ROS).

    The Self-Driving Car Engineer Nanodegree program is a specialized robotics program; it uses robotics concepts and applies them to a self-driving car.

    The Flying Car Nanodegree program is a specialized program for aerial vehicles. The focus will be on developing the skills to build an autonomous aircraft system. This means a unique emphasis on planning and autonomy for three-dimensional mobility, involving hands-on projects in simulation, with the opportunity to port your code to real drones.

    Read more about self-driving cars and flying cars here.

  • How are you developing the curriculum and who are your partners?

    The Flying Car Nanodegree program is developed in close collaboration with the following pioneers in autonomous flight systems, each of whom is an instructor in the program:

    • Sebastian Thrun: professor at Stanford; founder of Google-[X], Kitty Hawk, and Udacity
    • Raffaello D'Andrea: professor at ETH Zurich; founder of Kiva Systems (now Amazon Robotics) and Verity Studios.
    • Nick Roy: professor at MIT; founder of Google [X] Project Wing.
    • Angela Schoellig: professor at University of Toronto; MIT 35 Under 35.
  • What jobs will this program prepare me for?

    As a graduate of the world’s first flying car program, you will be uniquely prepared for positions pertaining to aerial robotics, autonomy, and mobility. Job titles in this industry vary, but include: Unmanned Aircraft Software Engineer, Software and Controls Engineer, Guidance Navigation and Controls (GNC) Engineer, Aerial Roboticist, and more.

    With experience architecting sophisticated yet safe autonomous systems, you will also be prepared for jobs far beyond aerial systems, including: Autonomous Driving Engineer, Autopilot Engineer, Robotics Software Engineer, IoT Engineer, and more.

  • What are the prerequisites for this program?

    Students should have the following skills coming into the program:

    • Substantial experience programming in any language
    • Intermediate-level programming experience in Python or willingness to learn
    • Intermediate-level programming experience in C++ or willingness to learn (including knowledge of memory allocation, classes, and references)
    • Basic Linear algebra
    • Calculus (derivatives and integrals)
    • Probability and statistics (mean, variance, and probability distributions)
    • Basic Physics (basic mechanics including knowledge of kinematics, dynamics, and torque)

    Looking to refresh your skills or prepare now? Get started with the following resources:

  • What frameworks/languages/technologies will I be learning in this program?
    You will learn necessary concepts for autonomous flight systems like planning, flight adaptation, coordination, and more. You will work with high-level and low-level languages (Python and C++), Unity-based and C++-based simulation environments, popular open-source code bases (Drone Code), and recommended hardware platforms. In all cases, you will get hands-on experience with implementation details, common debugging pointers, and other wonderfully mundane topics.
  • Do I need any special equipment to take this program?

    No. Nothing is required to complete the program except for a model of computer capable of running our programs, and an internet connection. The minimum computational prerequisite requirements for this Nanodegree program are the following:

    • 4GB RAM
    • Quad-Core i5 processor or equivalent
    • 50GB free HDD space
    • WiFi capability (802.11x)

    We will recommend drone hardware platforms that you can optionally port your code to.

  • Is there a hardware component to the program?
    You will implement aircraft-ready C++ code for certain projects. We will then provide instructions and community support for porting code to recommended hardware, and you will have the opportunity to run your code on actual drones!
  • Are there any other requirements for this program?
    Yes. You must comply with all applicable federal, provincial, state, or local laws regarding the licensure, registration, and operation of unmanned aircraft or other vehicles.
    Application Process
  • Why is there an application process for the Flying Car Nanodegree program?
    Given the specialized nature of this curriculum, it’s important that enrolled students have the required knowledge, skills, and experience in advance. This process allows us to assess each applicant's qualifications, and either accept them to the program, or make recommendations for courses that will help them meet the prerequisites so they can truly succeed in the program.
  • I understand I can earn guaranteed admission into the Flying Car Nanodegree program as a graduate of the Robotics Software Engineer, Self-Driving Car Engineer, or Intro to Self-Driving Cars Nanodegree programs. How does that work?
    You are correct! Graduates of any of these three programs earn guaranteed admission into our Flying Car Nanodegree program. In addition, students currently enrolled in either the Robotics Software Engineer or Self-Driving Car Engineer Nanodegree programs, who are in their final term and on-track to graduate on time, can also take advantage of the guaranteed admission opportunity, and proceed with enrolling in the Flying Car Nanodegree program.
  • What are the application selection criteria? Do I need to have specific programming experience?
    You must have previous knowledge of math (including linear algebra and statistics) and basic physics. You must also have intermediate-level programming experience in Python and C++.
  • If I don’t meet the requirements to enroll, what should I do?
  • If my first application is not accepted, what are my options?
    If you weren’t accepted, don’t worry! The most common reason for not being accepted is that you still need to build some of the skills required for the program. Fortunately, we have lots of fantastic courses at Udacity that will allow you to hone your skills in the required areas, and position yourself for a successful application next time. See above for suggested coursework.
    Program Structure
  • Is this program online, in-person, or some combination of both?
    The program is online, and students interact with peers, mentors, coaches, and instructors in our virtual classrooms and on Slack.
  • Will I need to be available online at specific times for my Flying Car Nanodegree program?

    The Flying Car Nanodegree program content is available online globally 24/7 in your Udacity classroom. Program resources (such as the FAQ and Slack community) are also available online.

    Specific online live events will be announced in advance. Attendance is optional, and archived versions will be made available to all students shortly after the live event takes place.

  • Can you tell me more about the Udacity Flying Car community?
    Udacity has an active Flying Car Slack Community here. The Slack community enables you to connect directly with your classmates in real time; Udacity students regularly use these forums to support each other's work, answer each other's questions, and share relevant ideas and resources. Virtually all of our graduates highlight this community aspect as one of the most important parts of their Nanodegree program experience.
  • Will I be able to pause my Nanodegree program?
    The fixed-term nature of the Flying Car Nanodegree program, and the need for maintaining a consistent and stable student body throughout, precludes offering the option to pause your studies.
  • Is this program self-paced?
    The start and end dates of the program are fixed, and you must complete all assigned projects by the end date, so to that extent, the answer is “no, it is not self-paced.” You must complete the program within a fixed time period. However, projects may be submitted at any time during the term, and individual project deadlines are recommendations, not requirements. So within the boundaries of a given term, there is some opportunity to work at your own pace. But you should plan to follow our recommended timeline, as this will best enable you to keep pace with your peers, and complete the program on time.
  • How many hours a week should I expect to spend on my coursework?
    Between instructional content, quizzes, projects, and other course-related activity, we estimate that investing 15 hours/week will enable you to proceed through the curriculum at a successful pace.
  • Will I have access to the material even after the term ends?
    As a Nanodegree program student, you will retain access to the program materials for a period of time after graduation and you may download certain materials for your own records if you wish. Please note however, that students who leave the program—or who are removed from the program for failure to meet the final deadline—prior to successfully graduating, will cease to have access.
  • Can you tell me more about Mentorship?
    Of course! Once you enroll, you will be paired with a Mentor who will be available to provide guidance and support throughout your Nanodegree program experience. They can answer questions for you, point you to helpful resources, and give you guidance on strategies for program success. Your mentor is there to help you successfully navigate your Nanodegree program straight through from enrollment to graduation.
  • How do Project Reviews work?
    Every time you submit a project, you will receive in-depth, personalized feedback on your project submission from one of our expert project reviewers. They will not only tell you what you got right and wrong, they will provide guidance on what you should try next, and give suggestions on how you can go even further with your project.
  • Are there hiring partners for this program?
    We are thrilled to include Kitty Hawk as a hiring partner, but please note, partnerships are not program-specific—all of our hiring partners have access to all our wonderful graduates!
    Deadline Policy
  • When we use the term "deadline" with regards to Nanodegree Program projects, we use it in one of two:

    • To mean a final deadline for submitting all projects
    • To refer to ongoing suggested deadlines for individual projects

    It is very important to understand the distinctions between the two, as your progress in the program is measured against the deadlines we've established. Please see below for an explanation of what each usage means.

  • A final deadline for submitting all projects

    In order to graduate from the nanodegree, you must submit all projects by the last day of the program and pass all projects once they are reviewed by a Udacity Reviewer (the review may take place after the last day of the term). Passing a project means a Udacity Reviewer has marked a project as "Meets Specifications."

    If you do not submit all projects by the end of the nanodegree and also pass all projects once they are reviewed, you will receive a 4-week extension to complete any outstanding projects. You will only receive this extension once. If you do not submit and pass all projects within the 4-week extension, you will be removed from the program and lose access to the content going forward.

  • Ongoing suggested deadlines for individual projects

    The deadlines you see in your classroom are suggestions for when you should ideally pass each project. They are meant to help keep you on track so that you maintain an appropriate pace throughout the program–one that will see you graduate on time!

    Please note that you can submit your project as many times as you need to. There are no penalties if you miss these suggested project deadlines. However, you will be at risk of not passing all projects on time if you miss these deadlines, and fall behind, so it is a recommended best practice to try and meet each suggested deadline.

  • How much does the Flying Car Nanodegree program cost?
    The program consists of two 3-month long terms which cost $1200 each, for a total of $2400. Each payment is made prior to the start of a term.
  • Is there a free trial period for this program?

    There is no free trial period for this program.

    You do have a 7-day window from the day you receive access to the program (the first day of your class), to un-enroll and request a refund. To request a refund, contact us via

  • Are there any scholarships being awarded?
    Scholarship opportunities are posted on our scholarships page.

Flying Car