Udacity ‘nanodegrees’ offer students access to major tech companies

Global Business

Five years ago, Udacity began offering tech-related courses for free to anyone. But two years ago it pioneered a new model — the nanodegree.

CGTN’s Mark Niu reports.

Udacity 'nanodegrees' offer students access to major tech companies

Udacity 'nanodegrees' offer students access to major tech companies

Thirteen thousand students from around the world have enrolled in Udacity nanodegree programs. More than 3,000 students have graduated. They’ve studied everything from virtual reality to machine learning to artificial intelligence. And now, self-driving cars.
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For about $260 month, online students earn credentials by completing programs designed in collaboration with big name companies such as Google and Facebook.

Thirteen thousand students from around the world have enrolled in Udacity nanodegree programs. More than 3,000 students have graduated. They’ve studied everything from virtual reality to machine learning to artificial intelligence. And now, self-driving cars.

The man in the driver’s seat of the world’s most extensive online self-driving car program has been named one of the world’s most creative people.

Sebastian Thrun is a Stanford professor and founder of Google X – the company’s research unit famous for high risk, high reward “moonshot” projects.

Ironically, Google X started with secretive autonomous driving development and now with Udacity, Thrun’s handing over the wheel to thousands of students.

“If you are a student you can get your software on this car in California. It’s actually really exciting. Self-driving car, lasers on top, lasers on front, cameras inside. And a big computer system in the trunk. We take the student software, you can now drive here in California on normal surface streets, outside highways and be safe,” Thrun said.

The first class of students is already building software for this car.

Among those collaborating on the new course include Mercedes Benz, Nvidia and Chinese transportation company Didi — all keeping an eye out for talent.

And despite his professional pedigree, Thrun said he’s been blown away by what students have already created in just a few weeks’ time.


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