SUNNYVALE –– Mercedes-Benz Research & Development North America (MBRDNA) has formed a partnership with Udacity, an online education provider, to offer a Nanodegree program for students to become engineers in self-driving car technology.
The MBRDNA team, based in Silicon Valley, works in all areas of autonomous driving, including sensor fusion, situation assessment, maneuver and trajectory planning as well as deep learning. The comprehensive knowledge of the MBRDNA team will be applied to the curriculum of the Udacity Nanodegree program. Applications will open on September 13thand be accepted through September 27th. The program is comprised of three different terms. Students must successfully complete all three terms to graduate. Each term is 12 weeks long, for a period of approximately 9 months. The Nanodegree program includes classes and projects in computer vision, robotics, sensor fusion, localization and deep learning. As part of students’ capstone project, they will build autonomous software that will be applied to an actual vehicle.
“We have tremendous respect for Udacity and its endeavor to democratize education and make it available for more people,” said Axel Gern, head of Autonomous Driving at MBRDNA. “At Mercedes-Benz, we are perpetually pushing boundaries of autonomous driving. By helping develop the curriculum for the Self-Driving Car Engineer Nanodegree, we are investing not only in potential talent to contribute to our cutting-edge developments but in the future of autonomous driving.”
“For the Self-Driving Car Nanodegree to be a success, we need the very best industry partners,” said Sebastian Thrun, founder and president of Udacity. “Mercedes-Benz is pioneering some of the most audacious innovations in this field and their contribution to the program is invaluable.”
Mercedes-Benz was the first automotive manufacturer to open a research and development center in Silicon Valley in 1995. In September 2014, MBRDNA became one of the first automotive manufacturers to be issued with an official license by the state of California for testing self-driving vehicles on public roads. The team in Sunnyvale deals with different traffic conditions and infrastructure parameters on inner-city American roads; the findings are then incorporated into the worldwide development work of Mercedes-Benz.