You Can Now Take an Online Course in Flying Cars
While degrees in aviation and aeronautics have existed for decades, there's a new category of aviation education that is finally being addressed: flying cars. Udacity, an online school that offers courses in technology for autonomous cars, VR and more, is now launching a "nanodegree" in flying car engineering.
Udacity was co-founded by Sebastian Thrun, who's worked on Google's self-driving car, now called Waymo. He is currently CEO of Kitty Hawk, a flying car startup that's received investment's from Google CEO and founder Larry Page.
Udacity is offering two courses, the first in "Aerial Robotics" and the second being "Intelligent Air Systems." Each term last 12 weeks and costs $1,200 per course, but Aerial Robotics is discounted to $899 if you apply by February 7. Course instructors seem to have legitimate credentials, including Professor Nicolas Roy of MIT, Angela Schoellig at the University of Toronto and Sebastian Thrun himself.
According to Reuters, Udacity has received over 50,000 applicants for its self-driving car courses since 2016.
Aerial Robotics will cover the "fundamental concepts required to design and develop robots that fly." In Intelligent Air Systems you'll get an intro to fixed wing aircraft and then "learn to coordinate entire fleets of flying cars... real-world systems and regulations, and complete projects culminating in an entire 'flying city' finale."
“Flying Cars and drones are the future of transportation, and they will massively change the world. Autonomous systems are the key to this future. Graduates will be immediately qualified to work in, and shape, this incredible field,” said Thrun on Udacity's website.
Once students finish the two courses, they will have a "nanodegree" in Flying Cars and Autonomous Flight. Thrun, a former professor at Stanford, hopes the classes will help close the talent gap in the flying cars field.
“There is a huge shortage of engineers. There are plenty of smart people — the missing link is education,” Thrun told Reuters.
Uber, Airbus, Bell Helicopters and more have each been developing their own forms of flying cars so there's an obvious need for talent in the industry.
“It feels like science fiction now,” Thrun said. “But with Google and Amazon moving in, there is going to be enormous activity around this in the next year or two.”