Degree in ‘flying car’ of engineering

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For those seeking an unusual course of study, one drive wheel of engineering may just fit the bill.

The online course is offered by the Silicon Valley e-learning school of Udacity and will start in the month of February.

It is the fruit of a former Stanford University professor Sebastian Thrun, who previously headed Google’s self-driving car project, Waymo.

Prof Thrun is hoping to attract at least 10,000 candidates in what he describes as a “nanodegree”.

A nanodegree, according to Udacity’s website, is an online certification that can be earned in six to 12 months, and aims to teach basic programming skills in the various disciplines.

Prof Thrun also works in Kitty Hawk, a start-up company with a mission to make the dream of personal flight a reality. Google co-founder Larry Page is one of its investors.
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His first prototype was a one-person drone capable of vertical take-off and landing, which can fly about 10m (33ft).

Previously Udacity has offered a self-driving car course, which has attracted 50,000 candidates from 2016.

The flying machine, the course will be offered in two 12-week terms, the cost of 1,200 dollars (£999 if you’re in the UK) each, inclusive of antenna modules for robotics and intelligent systems of the air.

Prof Thrun said that there is currently “a huge shortage of engineers” in the area of self-drive vehicles.

As for flying cars, said: “It feels like science fiction now. But with Google and Amazon moving in, there is going to be a great activity around this in the next year or two.”

“In a few years, this will be the most warm of the planet.”