Ride-sharing application Lyft and online teaching startup Udacity are teaming up to make it more accessible for individuals to learn how to operate self-driving vehicles. The course will take four months to complete and costs $800 to enroll.
The “Intro to Self-Driving Cars” course is currently being offered to anyone in the world, but with Udacity’s new initiative with Lyft, the two are aiming to offer “400 scholarships specifically targeted at students from communities underrepresented in the tech world,” as reported by The Verge. The prerequisites for students interested in taking the fast-paced class are experience with programming and some form of algebra.
The self-driving car industry is taking the world by storm with the continuous growth of artificial intelligence and technology, making it an attractive industry for many students. Self-driving cars are obviously difficult to design and create, so there is a demand for these students to help contribute to the industry. With salaries varying anywhere between $200,000 and $400,000 for an engineering position, the market will inevitably attract students interested in developing self-driving cars.
Udacity particularly specializes in nano-credential certifications, meaning it offers quite a few fast-paced courses that help prepare students to become job-ready in a short period of time. After consulting with individuals from the AI and motor vehicle industry, as well as Lyft, the company knew it was a perfect fit for the initiative. Founder and president of Udacity Sebastian Thrun stated, “There is an enormous market for engineers of self-driving cars. … Lots and lots of companies that you wouldn’t suspect have entered that field and are massively hiring.”
Since offering the Self-Driving Car Engineer course a year ago, Udacity has attracted more than 43,000 potential students, with around 10,000 students from more than 50 countries being enrolled. According to the company, around 60 percent of its students have landed new jobs in the industry before their upcoming graduation.
With the addition of Lyft in its endeavors, Udacity is set on teaching students to become innovative engineers in the self-driving cars industry. The scholarship opportunity will give those who are bright but less fortunate the chance to make an impact.