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Udacity Shows Strong Growth, Launches Flying Car Nanodegree With MIT Faculty

Udacity continues to grow, announces two new Nanodegrees: Intro to Self-Driving Cars Nanodegree, and Flying Cars Nanodegree

In my Year in Review for Udacity last year, I speculated that they have moved from “Be In Demand” to “Jobs of Tomorrow.” It meant moving away from web and mobile, and into to upcoming fields like AI/ML or VR.

It seems to be working. The Self-Driving Car Nanodegree has 10,000 students enrolled and it received 43,000 applications. The first cohort has not yet graduated, but according to Udacity 60 students have already found jobs in the field.

Udacity Nanodegree Stats 2017

Overall, 53,000 students are currently enrolled in Nanodegrees, which is a 4x increase from last year. This number does not include students who received scholarships, or students from Udacity’s enterprise efforts. There are now over 18,000 Nanodegree graduates. Udacity is also on track to double their revenues.

Udacity also has nine million learners enrolled across its free and paid courses.

Based on the success of the Self-Driving Car Nanodegree, Udacity is now launching two new Nanodegrees: Intro to Self-Driving Cars, and the boldly named Flying Car Nanodegree. Yes, a Flying Car Nanodegree.

Flying Car Nanodegree

A more appropriate (but less marketing-friendly) name for this Nanodegree would be Autonomous Flight Nanodegree. Udacity has roped in Nicholas Roy, an MIT faculty member and the Bisplinghoff Professor of Aeronautics and Astronautics. According to Dr. Roy, the idea of a flying car “is a metaphor for a new vision for the future of smart transportation.” In addition to Dr. Roy, his curriculum partners represent a star cast:

  • Sebastian Thrun, founder of Udacity and Google’s Self-Driving car project. He is also currently the CEO of KittyHawk, a flying car company.
  • Raff D’Andrea, co-founder of Kiva Systems. Amazon bought Kiva Systems for $775 million, and it’s now called Amazon Robotics.
  • Angela Schoellig, professor in the University of Toronto Institute for Aerospace Studies.

More details about the Flying Car Nanodegree can be found here: https://www.udacity.com/flyingcar. The Nanodegree is scheduled to launch in early 2018.

Angela-Schoellig Flying Car Nanodegree Instructor
Angela Schoellig Flying Car Nanodegree instructor. Credit: Tyler Irving

Intro to Self-Driving Cars Nanodegree

The Intro To Self-Driving Cars Nanodegree is for those people who want to sign up for the popular Self-Driving Cars Nanodegree but do not have the prerequisites for it.

The curriculum includes Bayesian Thinking, Matrices, C++ Basics, Performance and Modeling, Algorithmic Thinking, and Machine Learning/Computer Vision. A bit of everything. The only prerequisites are some programming experience (e.g. C++, Python) and algebra.


Andy Brown returns as the Curriculum Lead. Early adopters of Udacity might be familiar with him and he was a common fixture in early Udacity courses.

The Intro to Self-Driving Cars Nanodegree opens 10/10. More details here: https://www.udacity.com/course/intro-to-self-driving-cars–nd113

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Dhawal Shah

Dhawal is the CEO of Class Central, the most popular search engine and review site for online courses and MOOCs. He has completed over a dozen MOOCs and has written over 200 articles about the MOOC space, including contributions to TechCrunch, EdSurge, Quartz, and VentureBeat.

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