Flying Car Nanodegree Program

January 24, 2018 Harriet Jenkins

Flying Car Nanodegree Program: Applications Open - By Jake Lussier, Flying Cars lead at Udacity 

The most practical career move for today’s engineer is to work on the most wildly ambitious technologies in existence. This may seem like counterintuitive career advice, but lifelong learners at the cutting-edge are uniquely positioned to succeed in their careers, and to shape our future.

Join the Inaugural Class of Flying Car Engineers!

Today we are thrilled to open applications for our most ambitious program yet—the Flying Car Nanodegree program! Successful applicants will join a growing vanguard of highly-skilled autonomous flight engineers who are redefining the future of transportation and aerial robotics.

Are you ready for a future in this transformational field? Enroll by February 19, and take your place in the historic inaugural class. You can even earn a special “Early Adopter” first-term tuition offer! Read on for additional details about this program, and this special pricing opportunity.
The Flying Car Nanodegree Program

Udacity founder and flying car pioneer Sebastian Thrun announced this program four months ago, and the responses that have emerged since make clear the world is taking serious notice of the tremendous potential this program represents:
“This should produce Nanodegree program holders with skill sets that can scale to match the opportunity – from practical applications today in areas like commercial drone asset monitoring, to a future where short-range autonomous cargo and even passenger transportation is a viable real world tech.” —TechCrunch
Judging by the incredible number of you who’ve joined our Flying Car notification list since Sebastian’s announcement, and who’ve been reading our new Flying Car News series, it’s clear it isn’t just media who are excited—we’ve got a new generation of engineers who are ready to get to work, and excited to take their innovations to the skies!
A World-Class Team of Instructors and Partners
As announced in September, the Flying Car Nanodegree program boasts a world-class lineup of all-star aerial innovators:

  • Sebastian Thrun: Acknowledged “Father of the Self-Driving Car;” 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.
  • Nicholas Roy: Professor at MIT; founder of Google X Project Wing.
  • Angela Schoellig: Professor at University of Toronto; MIT 35 Under 35.

As investment in the emerging field of autonomous flight ramps up significantly, the talent wars are simultaneously heating up as well. Our program offers the unrivaled opportunity to master the in-demand skills necessary to secure rewarding employment with the increasing number of companies—from large organizations such as Airbus, Boeing, and Uber, to startups like Kitty Hawk, Lilium, and Terrafugia—hiring in the flying car space.
“For anyone psyched about this future of flight, the good news is that all the companies trying to make it happen might soon have access to a bigger workforce.”  —Wired

Program Curriculum
We are excited to debut the Flying Car Nanodegree program curriculum, which is available for download here. In order to deliver the best learning experience possible, we have broken the program out into two distinct terms:

  • Term 1: Aerial Robotics - You will learn the fundamental 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 in Python and C++. You will even have the opportunity to port code to and experiment with recommended and tested hardware!
  • Term 2: Intelligent Air Systems - You will delve into the specifics of flying cars and coordinated autonomous systems. After an intro to fixed wing aircrafts, you will learn how to update and optimize vehicle parameters and routes over “flying car length” missions. From there, you’ll learn to coordinate entire fleets of flying cars as you leverage cutting-edge technologies, learn real-world systems and regulations, and complete projects culminating in an entire “flying city” finale.

This curriculum is not only pedagogically innovative, but also relevant to present and future challenges, as explained by our instructors below:
“Robots flying in dynamic environments must be able to learn and adapt. Our first term provides the necessary foundation in estimation, controls, and planning.” — Angela Schoellig, on Term 1: Aerial Robotics
“Flying cars and other aerial robots cannot be treated in isolation. They will fly amongst countless other robots. Our second term empowers students with the ‘systems thinking’ mindset and the software skills to build intelligent air systems.” — Nicholas Roy, on Term 2: Intelligent Air Systems
“Safety is priority #1, #2, and #3 for anything that flies, and is an absolute must for flying cars. Right now there simply aren’t enough engineers who know what it takes to deliver this. Safety is baked into each and every course in this program, preparing graduates to build the future.” — Sebastian Thrun, on Safety & Reliability
“The most powerful part of this program is the hands-on experience students get building real solutions for real systems. Only by seeing things through all the way to actual implementation will they be ready to create the flight systems of the future.” — Raffaello D'Andrea, on Learning by Doing
Run Your Code in the Sky

The Flying Car Nanodegree Program will empower you to translate concepts from the classroom to simulation and, ultimately, to your own self-flying drones. Here are some key details and features:
Classroom Simulator: You will code in the classroom using Python + Jupyter and immediately see effects in this custom Unity-based simulator.
Flight-Ready Simulator: You will then translate this code into C++ and run it in a stripped-down but aerodynamically realistic simulator.
Hardware: You will run your own code on your own low-cost drone.
How to Apply

We are now accepting applicationsto the Flying Car Nanodegree program here, and applications will remain open until February 7, 2018. The program is comprised of two terms of 12 weeks each. The tuition for each term is $1200, paid prior to the start of the term. Applicants to the first term will receive a submission response by February 13, 2018. The classroom is scheduled to open in late February.
Accepted applicants who successfully enroll by February 19,2017 will benefit from a special Early Adopter tuition rate of $899 for the first term!
Please note that graduates of our Self-Driving Car Engineer, Intro to Self-Driving Cars, and Robotics Software Engineer Nanodegree programs earn guaranteed admission into the Flying Car Nanodegree program. Graduates of these programs will receive emails with relevant details. 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.
Build the Future

The potential applications of autonomous flight technology are incredible, and we are already seeing powerful examples of this today, from disaster relief efforts in the aftermath of Hurricane Irma to bringing internet connectivity and emergency aid to the developing world.
Enrollment in this program represents your opportunity to help write the history of this dawning age of smart transportation, and take your innovations to the skies.
Apply today, and we’ll look forward to seeing you in the classroom!

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