Become a Self Driving Car Engineer
In this Udacity Self-driving Car Nanodegree review, I will talk about how Udacity will help land a job, including its pros and cons
Udacity is offering personalized discount.
You seem to be really interested in autonomous car tech, that’s why you are looking to find reviews for Udacity’s Self Driving Car Nanodegree.
Don’t worry, I have done the research for you. I have been to various platforms to find if it’s worth recommending to you or not.
The purpose of this article is to find answer to following questions
- Is the Udacity’s Self Driving Car Nanodegree Worth it?
- Can it help you land in a job?
This is an unbiased review and can help you decide whether the course is a good fit or not.
Let’s keep rolling..
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Here are some of the top reviews from earlier Udacity Self Driving Car Nanodegree graduates.
Juan Carlos Kuri Pinto
I learned many state-of-the-art algorithms of robotics. In fact, I’m one of the very first graduates of the Refresh version of this brand new Self Driving Car Nanodegree Program. And here is my certificate of graduation. Prof. Sebastian Thrun gave the commencement speech for this program and the commencement speech for my Master in Computer Science at Georgia Tech. Both commencement speeches were so similar that I felt like I was graduating from Georgia Tech again.
Rohit Athreya Ravikumar
Great content, engaging UI, good balance of coding and concepts lead to a fun learning experience.
Consistent effort week over week to keep up with the course deadlines. A lot of additional content to keep you engaged for hours.
Good insight into how self-driving cars operate and what the main challenges are. A special shout out to Sebastian Thrun for all his material and energy!
Hope to keep this streak going.
Glad to share that, I have finally completed a 6 months long intensive self-driving car Engineer Nanodegree program offered by Udacity.
I now find my driving skills questionable when considering all the variables that an autonomous vehicle accounts for when making a decision. Would highly recommend the program.
An overview of the projects can be found here
Researcher at Hochschule Esslingen
Finally done with the Nanodegree from Udacity.
It covers the concepts which are needed for a robotics and deep learning approach for autonomous development.
Some Improvement Reviews
At the start of the course, it felt like quite some daunting journey that I wasn’t really sure I was going to be able to finish. But now as I graduate it gives me a huge feeling of elation that I wanted to share with all of you here.
I give thanks to the whole team of Udacity for your teaching brilliance and unbounded enthusiasm for making such a challenging field so accessible and engaging.
I have been disappointed by the changes recently made: they removed every relevant project that could get you a job and removed the communication platform that was the best part of being enrolled in a Nanodegree.
The SDC industry is competitive, and they’re looking for the best of the best engineers, and having taken the SDC Nanodegree alone is not enough. This Nanodegree is more of a “jack of all trades, master of none” course. It’s what you do with the knowledge you’ve learned from the Nanodegree that will get you a job in the industry
Overall, this course has an average rating of 4.8/5. Looking over the reviews, this Nanodegree has made a positive impression over me. Just have a look at how a girl from India got a job in Silicon Valley after doing this Nanodegree.
I recommend this if you are truly passionate for autonomous tech, and you can dedicate your entire life to this. Because I think, this course can help a lot in long run.
Overview of this self driving car nanodegree
Planning to make your career in the futuristic Self Driving Cars?
Do you want to be a self-driving car expert? Is working in autonomous vehicles your passion?
Hold Your Breath.
Udacity in partnership with Mercedes-Benz, Nvidia and Uber have come up with a complete online course on self-driving cars viz. autonomous cars that will teach you all the concepts required to program a self-driving car.
In this article, I will present a complete Udacity Self Driving Car Nanodegree Review with all the pros and cons of the course.
Is Udacity Self Driving Car Nanodegree Worth it?
This Nanodegree is one of the best online courses among all courses on self-driving/autonomous cars globally.
In other words, there is hardly any course that can teach you in-depth knowledge about autonomous systems in a short period.
Have a look at our best 4 self-driving car courses
Let me take you through other added advantages this course has for you. Keep reading.
What are self-driving cars?
Self-driving cars popularly known as Autonomous cars or robotic car is a vehicle that navigates with no human interruption by sensing it’s the environment through sensors and other instruments like Lidar, Radar, GPS, etc.
A self-driving car engineer is one who blends software and hardware systems in groundbreaking new ways.
You will be responsible to develop and implement software related to machine learning, motion planning, perception, cloud storage, and all other related technologies related to autonomous cars.
To learn this, a college degree won’t be enough.
To master autonomous vehicles, one needs to have a complete understanding of deep learning, a part of AI that guides the system to differentiate pedestrians from lamp posts.
It is predicted that self-driving cars will become a $42 billion market, creating more than 1 lakh jobs by 2025.
Before moving to this Udacity Self Driving Car Nanodegree review, let’s see how much an average engineer working in the field earns.
According to Paysa.com, The average Salary a Self Driving Car Engineer earns is $238,018 annually.
Isn’t that lucrative?
The lack of talent in autonomous systems is the justification for such high salaries.
Many large companies are focused to bring self-driving cars in a few years and have already spent millions in developing the technologies.
The companies looking to hire self-driving car engineers are
- Mercedes Benz
No doubt, becoming a self-driving car engineer is one of the most lucrative professions right now.
Did I just interest you?
To increase your chances of getting hired by the above corporates, Udacity is steeped in providing a complete Self Driving Car Engineer Nanodegree in collaboration with industry experts.
About Udacity Self Driving Car Engineer Nanodegree
Complete analysis of Udacity’s Self Driving Car Engineer Nanodegree
This online course is aimed at providing a complete platform to learn and implement skills and techniques used by self-driving car teams at the most advanced technology companies in the world.
In this course you will learn to apply computer vision and deep learning to automotive problems, including detecting lane lines, predicting steering angles, etc.
Followed by sensor fusion to filter data obtained from multiple sensors.
The end project is very interesting as you get to program Carla, a self-driving car developed by Udacity.
This course is a brainchild of Sebastian Thrun, founder, and CEO of Udacity, an ex-Googler who led the self-driving car project at Google and later founded Udacity in 2014.
“All of these companies like Zoox and Aurora, Waymo, Cruise and Tesla are hiring like crazy.”– Sebastian Thrun
I strongly feel, If there is any institution qualified to deliver a complete package on self-driving cars, it’s Udacity.
Anyway, I liked their intro video.
Cost and Duration of Self Driving Car Engineer Nanodegree
Cost: $399/month (For discounts keep reading)
Duration: According to Udacity, you can complete the Nanodegree program in 6 months and expects you to spend 10 hours per week on the course. But actually, you need to spend more time on the course material to get along with the course flow.
Many learners spend up to 15-20 hours per week practicing more.
It requires a lot of dedication and hard work along with patience to cope with a program for so long.
You are reading about Udacity Self Driving Car Nanodegree Review
Check this out -> Udacity Robotics Nanodegree Review
Syllabus for Self-Driving Car Engineer Program
The complete syllabus is divided into 3 terms where Students move at their own pace, covering the entire portion in three nine-week trimesters.
All three terms of the course are meticulously planned with a step-by-step understanding of the subject.
All terms contain Courses on respective topics followed by projects.
Introduction, Computer Vision and Deep Learning
Course 1: Introduction
In the introduction, you will learn about how autonomous cars work, and you’ll be given your first project of finding lane lines on the road.
You will be introduced to the program and a brief summary of the wonderful projects you’ll build
Welcome to the journey of becoming a self-drive car engineer!
Course 2: Computer Vision
This course consists of two lessons. The first lesson will take you through fundamental computer vision techniques to make you find lanes on the road and track other vehicles with the help of cameras, software systems, and machine learning.
You’ll learn to extract information from a video by applying vector mechanics and decision trees, and also calibrating cameras and images.
The 2nd lesson will take you through advanced computer vision techniques to make improvements in the algorithm with the help of distortion correction and gradient thresholds!
Finding Lane Lines on a Road
The tools you learned in the first lesson will help you in this project to detect lane lines first in an image, followed by a video. Congratulations, you’ll be writing your first code on the way to becoming a self-driving car engineer.
In this project, you need to write complex software to detect lane lines with the help of a car’s front camera.
Course 3: Deep Learning
Deep learning is the most important part when it comes to machine learning or autonomous systems.
Using a Udacity Simulator, NVIDIA and Uber ATG experts will teach you how to develop a deep neural network with the help of data from the real world.
You will learn to code and drive a vehicle in the simulator. The simulator makes you feel as if you are driving on your own.
Traffic Sign Classifier
After getting to know about deep learning in-depth, this project will let you code to identify different traffic signs.
Use your deep learning knowledge to simulate this project! Make a deep neural network to drive a vehicle!
Sensor Fusion and Localization
Course 4: Sensor Fusion
Identifying obstacles and other objects is a serious challenge to understand the surroundings of a vehicle.
Mercedes-Benz engineers will teach you about Kalman filters, which is a mathematical tool used by Sensor fusion engineers.
Kalman filters are used to determine the approximate position of other cars and automobiles on the roads. These filters will even let you track an object which is difficult to follow.
Using C++ you’ll apply everything you have learned about Sensor Fusion and Kalman Filters.
Course 5: Localization
It’s very difficult to determine the exact location of the car using GPS, as its accuracy is only up to a few meters. Hence, we use Localization to determine where our car is in the real world, as we need to be precise when it comes to location. Markov Localization makes it possible. Here, engineers from Mercedes-Benz will guide you about the principles of Markov localization to determine the exact location of the vehicle.
A very interesting project is to detect the precise location of the car by building a particle filter and merging it with a real map.
Path Planning, Control and System Integration
Course 6: Path Planning
Path planning helps the car to move from point A to point B while avoiding any casualties. There are 3 stages of path planning in which Engineers from the Mercedes-Benz Vehicle Intelligence team will take you through.
Initially, apply data-driven approaches to analyze the behavioral pattern of other vehicles on the road. Then you need to program the car to decide which maneuver the vehicle has to take. At last, form a trajectory to take that decided path.
Project 7: Highway Driving
In this project, you will drive your car using the path planner
Course 7: Control
Actuators like steering and brakes are important components of any car. For any autonomous car, it’s necessary to send commands for steering and throttle to move the car. UBER ATG will take you through PID controllers and model predictive controllers. These control algorithms will teach you some prominent techniques required for actuating any vehicle.
Course 8: System Integration
It’s time to apply your learning to a real car. Introducing ‘Carla’, Udacity’s in-house build a self-driving car along with the Robot Operating System that is responsible for its control. It’s teamwork at the end. Along with other Nanodegree students, you have to work on Carla to make it move on the test track.
What are the prerequisites for the course?
Before jumping to the course, it is necessary to brush up on a certain skill set to have a better understanding of the concepts.
Solid programming knowledge is expected in any relevant coding language. Learning Python and C++ is mostly preferred.
Also Read: Best 5 Free Python Courses Online
So brush up your concepts on both the languages as they will be heavily used during the program.
In Addition to programming skills, one must know statistics, algebra, and calculus.
I also suggest taking up some open courses, like Stanford’s CS231n, to understand Convolution Neural Nets.
A dedicated focus and commitment are all you need to absorb the most out of the course.
Summing up, you should have prior knowledge on the following topics:
- Python (Classes, Data structures)
- Intermediate C++
- Linear Algebra (Matrices, Vectors, Matrix multiplication)
- Calculus (Derivatives, Integrals)
- Basic Statistics (Mean, Standard deviation, Gaussian distribution)
- Basic Physics (Forces)
For aspiring self-driving car engineers who currently have a limited background in programming, math, computer vision, or machine learning, Udacity has created the Introduction to Self-Driving Cars Nanodegree program to help them prepare.
Hope you are finding this Udacity Self Driving Car Nanodegree Review interesting!
5 Benefits of joining this Self Driving Car Engineer Program from Udacity
1. You get to teach by Industry experts
Apart from regular instructors, you get insights to form on-sight of real-world problems from engineers Mercedes, Nvidia, and Otto.
2. This course is highly valued by companies like Mercedes, Lyft, Uber, Otto.
Many organizations are striving hard to launch their in-house developed autonomous vehicles and are looking to hire talent to double their engineering staff. What better talent will they get than students who have completed this self-driving Nanodegree?
3. You get to work on practical projects
At the end of the course, you get to work on Udacity’s in-house developed Autonomous car named Carla. Who else will provide you such an opportunity?
4. According to Udacity, earlier Nanodegree program graduates have landed new jobs with Audi, BMW, Bosch, and Jaguar Land Rover.
5. Udacity has partnered with 14 companies around the world, agreed to hire the sharpest graduates. Mercedes employs more than 40 Nanodegree program graduates world-wide.
Also Read: 10 Reasons why Udacity is worth it
And now the Downsides
Are you wondering about the cons of this self-driving engineer Nanodegree program? It does have some.
This course could be tiresome at certain moments as you might need to spend more time working on the project.
Maybe 15-20 hours per week to complete the syllabus on time.
The laws associated with autonomous cars could be complicated. Hence, you need to always stay updated with the laws as they get revised with technological advancements.
This may lead to stress and an increase in workload several times. You need to learn to handle stress encountered while working as a self-driving car engineer.
Stress is just part of the game.
Pros and Cons of Self Driving Car Nanodegree
- Get to lean from Industry experts
- High chance of getting a Job
- Career services
- Offers quality content
- Community and discussion forums
- Slightly Expensive
- Requires extra efforts than stated
- No Udacity App
- Course could be tiresome at certain moments
In my view, if you are passionate about the self-driving car technology and would love to get your hand dirty, you should definitely enroll in this course.
Above all, taking this course will prove your dedication to an emerging field of automation and might land you a job in any of the companies mentioned above.
It will be an amazing experience.
I say Yes to this self-driving car engineer nanodegree.
You just read about Udacity Self Driving Car Nanodegree Review
- Get your basics strong on Python
- Dedicate as much time as you can. You should leave and breathe this program
- After completing the course, apply all you have learned to build your own autonomous vehicle, at your college or your startup
Other Related Nanodegree Programs
This introductory program is the perfect way to embark your journey in the field of self-driving cars
Master job-ready autonomous flight software engineering skills as you tackle advanced challenges, write real code for real aircraft, and develop a systems understanding of the Flying Car full-stack.
Build hands-on projects to acquire core robotics software engineering skills: ROS, Gazebo, Localization, Mapping, SLAM, Navigation, and Path Planning. Here’s a complete review.
Will this Nanodegree help me land in a job?
Udacity has discontinued their feature of job guarantee. Since a lot of companies are working on autonomous tech, you have a good chance of landing in a job either in a company or tech startup.
What will I learn form this self-driving car nanodegree?
Here you will learn how a self-driving car works, how to use computer vision to find lane lines on difficult roads and to track vehicles, how to build a deep neural networks and train them with data from the real world.
What are the alternatives to the self driving car nanodegree?
There are few alternatives from Udemy and Coursera, but when it comes to depth and quality of content, there’s hardly anyone teaching the Udacity does.
Udacity Self Driving Car Engineer Nanodegree
- Stay ahead of the competition
- Demand high paying jobs
- Build real-world projects
I am a aspiring ML Engineer with huge interest in technology. I like to review courses which are genuine and add real value to students career. Here’s my story