Udacity self-driving car: a man relaxing in a self-driving car.

Did you know that self-driving cars were first tried in 1925? It was controlled remotely with a controller. 

Udacity self-driving car courses can be one of the best ways to get introduced to the topic of self-driving cars. So many people are interested in the courses, as the topic really is exciting. But it sounds so complicated, doesn’t it?

Well, truthfully, it’s not the easiest subject to learn. However, there are great courses that can help you tackle this topic. While you might need to have some prior knowledge to take the courses, you can surely learn it!

So, if what you’re interested in is self-driving cars don’t let anything stop you from studying it. One thing that can prevent you from finally getting to understand the subject is not knowing which resources are the best. 

That’s what I’m here to help you with. Finding good resources might not be the easiest task. While you’re likely to come across some suggestions when simply googling self-driving cars, not all the suggestions that are going to pop up will be worth your while. 

It’s highly important that you find resources that will help you along your journey and not hamper your progress. Choosing poorly-made courses or books can surely deter you from any further learning. 

That’s why I’m here to recommend only the best Udacity Self-Driving Car nanodegrees. Keep on reading to find out which courses and why they are recommended.

How Do Self-Driving Cars Work?

If you haven’t looked into self-driving cars, it might appear like a mysterious subject. It just sounds surreal, how is it possible to make cars operate themselves and do it safely in so many different situations while driving. 

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Well, due to advanced technology, we’re able to have self-driving cars. Keep in mind that the term is quite liberal. Self driving cars have 6 levels of autonomy:

  • Level 0: All major systems are controlled by the driver
  • Level 1: There are certain systems that can be controlled by the car, such as, cruise control or automatic braking. However, they can only work one at a time. 
  • Level 2: At least 2 simultaneously automated functions are available, like steering or acceleration, but it still requires humans for safe operation. 
  • Level 3:  The cars are fully autonomous, in the regard of safety-critical situations under specified conditions, but still need interference from drivers sometimes. 
  • Level 4: The car is fully autonomous but might still need interference in certain driving scenarios
  • Level 5: The cars are completely autonomous in every situation. 

There are still no fully self-driving cars in the USA, based on the estimates, level 4 self-driving cars should be available for the public in the few upcoming years, but it’s not yet clear when it will be possible to safely have cars with no drivers.

The way they work is with the help of sensors, cameras, radars, and lasers. With all the technology employed the cars are able to detect obstacles, speed limits, lanes and navigation. 

The technology is really advanced. It is able to tell the difference between bicycle and motorbike, making the following traffic rules and navigation easier

Udacity self-driving car: a man working on a computer while the car is driving

You might be wondering what is taking driverless cars so long. Well, the main concern is safety. The cars have to be perfect as it’s peoples’ lives at risk. If a phone that’s released is faulty, it can just be replaced without any threats to the lives of people. 

However, if the self-driving car that’s sold to someone is faulty, it can take their lives. That’s why the technology is being perfected and it’s taken in smaller steps, while some of the newest cars are autonomous, they still state that having a driver is necessary. 

Due to the rapid advancements of technology, it seems that there’s not that much time left to wait until we get self-driving cars. It might take a while for the whole world to catch up, but advanced countries will likely have them rather sooner than later.

If you want to understand the technology, and maybe even help with the making of the cars, you first have to learn how to do that. The best solution is Udacity self-driving car courses or nanodegrees. 

So, you’d better start your learning journey as soon as possible, but before that, you should check out the courses and read about them more in-depth. 

Udacity Self-Driving Car Courses

While you might be able to find countless courses on Python programming, self-driving cars aren’t that popular as a course topic. However, that doesn’t mean that you can’t find high-quality courses.

There are 2 main Udacity self-driving car nanodegrees - Intro to Self-Driving Cars and Become a Self-Driving Car Engineer. The first one is more suitable for beginners, and the second one is for more advanced learners. 

Both of the Udacity self-driving car nanodegrees are highly valuable and provide lots of great information. That means that you might want to go through both of them if you’re a beginner who wants to achieve a higher level of knowledge in self-driving cars. 

However, before taking the course, you should look into the course more thoroughly. It’s crucial to analyze the courses more carefully before taking them. Not all courses are made equally and some may suit some people more than others

While the general skeleton of the course usually remains the same, there are nuances that differ with every course. If you came to a course unaware of them, you might just have wasted your money, if the course is not compatible with your needs. 

Therefore, you have to choose wisely. I’m here to help you with that. Check out the main points of the courses and find out why they’re worth considering. 

Intro to Self-Driving Cars (Enroll Here)

Udacity self-driving cars: Intro to Self-Driving Cars course.

  • Platform: Udacity
  • Duration: 4 months
  • Price: $1116
  • Certificate: Yes
  • Level: Intermediate
  • Where to apply? Here

The first course I’d like to talk about is Udacity Intro to Self-Driving Cars. The course is more of an introductory course, compared to the other Udacity self-driving car nanodegree. However, that doesn’t mean that you won’t get a lot of invaluable knowledge. 

Having taken this course, you’ll understand how self-driving cars work and will have the knowledge needed for programming them. So, you can’t just skip over this one if you want to learn about self-driving cars. 

Udacity self-driving car: a boy programming

You should first take this course, as starting with the Become a Self-Driving Car Engineer course first might be a little bit confusing. It’s like jumping to advanced algebra without fully knowing the multiplication table. You might be able to go through it, but you’ll have parts you haven’t fully understood. 

However, if you have some previous experiences, are a programming whiz, or have already read a book or two on self-driving cars, you might be able to skip this Udacity self-driving car course and jump straight into the Become a Self-Driving Car Engineer without any big hurdles. 

Even if you’re a more advanced learner, you could still benefit from the course, as you’d get a nice refresher of the knowledge you’ll use later. Therefore, don’t look down on the course, even if you think you might already know the information that’s presented. 

So, as you can see, it can benefit learners of all levels. Let’s look more into this Udacity self-driving car nanodegree and what it has to offer. 

Multidisciplinary Knowledge

One of the first things that I noticed when analyzing this Udacity self-driving car nanodegree is that it offers information on various subjects. That means that you won’t be stuck with repeating information on the same topic for months. 

The course starts with Bayesian thinking. If you’re a science-oriented person, you might already be familiar with Bayesian thinking, but if you’re a humanitarian science nerd, it might cause you some more trouble. 

Don’t let this scare you though, the topic is definitely not rocket science (although the knowledge could also help with this subject). Bayesian thinking is one of the greatest preparations for any science-related field. 

So even if you’re not going to become a self-driving car engineer, your horizons will still be expanded. Science theory is underrated as you can only do so much without understanding the theory behind it. Fortunately, this course has it covered. 

Furthermore, the Udacity self-driving car course continues with matrices. In this specialty, you can’t really go far without some knowledge of mathematics. Therefore, you’ll have to go through it. So, if you didn’t like your maths professor or teacher, this is your chance to have it explained better. 

Furthermore, you’ll have some C++ to prepare you for self-driving car engineering. C++ is one of the programming languages that you’ll need when working on self-driving cars.

You’ll also learn calculus, data structures, and machine learning. Understanding these disciplines is a crucial skill for learning self-driving car engineering. These fields are worth learning by themselves, not only as a part of a nanodegree. 

If taking this course, you find yourself getting more and more interested in a certain topic, don’t hesitate to explore it deeper. You can find various courses on the topics. Let’s say you’re interested in machine learning. 

There are so many courses on the subject, and you’re welcome to check out our guide on what machine learning is before diving deeper. Or you can simply head to Udacity and search for a course! 

Real-World Projects

Another great advantage of the course is working with real-world projects. Based on our experience in the education system, we’re quite used to working with theoretical situations and fiction. 

While there’s nothing wrong with analyzing situations created specifically for learners, it might just be way more efficient to work with real-life examples. 

To help you visualize it, think of learning a foreign language. Sure, you go through the basic dialogues in the market, airport, and all the other primitive scenarios. What happens when you meet a native speaker of the language and try to communicate with them?

Well, you get completely lost. First of all, their pronunciation is not going to be as standard as the person’s who voices the dialogues in the textbook. That means that you’ll already encounter problems. 

Now, the person starts using slang as the language is a constantly mutating phenomenon. If you’re lucky, your textbook may contain some slang, or you might come across a sensible teacher who realizes the importance of learning slang.

However, it’s basically impossible to keep up with the slang if you don’t live in the country or socialize with native speakers regularly.  That means that your teacher might not even know it all. That’s why you have to expose yourself to real-life situations. 

Udacity self-driving car: woman traveling

The same goes for any programming field or self-driving cars. It’s really hard to learn applicable things from the textbook only. That’s why you need to work with real-world examples. 

If you don’t get this kind of experience when learning, you’ll probably come across various problems when working on your very first project. This Udacity self-driving car nanodegree has it covered, though. 

Here, you’ll get to learn by practising with up-to-date, real-world examples, meaning that you’ll be ready for what future projects may contain. 

Prerequisite Knowledge

There’s one thing you should keep in mind before taking this course. Self-driving cars as a subject is not exactly an introductory course to the very basics. It’s an advanced topic which requires some knowledge.

Self-driving cars combine both software and hardware, lots of sensors, data management, engineering, and programming. That means that you can’t expect a course on self-driving cars to cover all these topics and take you to an advanced level. 

Sure, it’s possible, but the course would likely last for years. There’s just so much you have to know if you’re a complete beginner. You shouldn’t worry about it if you’re serious about learning how to make self-driving cars, though

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You’ll just need a quick brush up on your mathematics skills and some time to learn a little bit of programming. It is all doable. In a few months, you’ll be able to tackle Udacity self-driving car nanodegree. 

One of the ways to prepare is by taking Udacity courses. The best suggestion for this situation is Udacity Introduction to Programming Nanodegree. The program is really well-made and tailored for beginners who would like to learn to program. 

The nanodegree reviews are splendid, and the general satisfaction with the course is as high as ever. So, it’s highly likely that you, like many other people, will be more than satisfied with the course. 

So, if you really are serious about learning how to make self-driving cars, make sure to head to Udacity and start learning!

Become a Self-Driving Car Engineer (Enroll Here)

Udacity self-driving cars: Become a Self-Driving Car Engineer course.

  • Platform: Udacity
  • Duration: 4 months
  • Price: $1674
  • Certificate: Yes
  • Level: Intermediate
  • Where to apply? Here

Having taken the course, you might still want to improve even more. Fortunately, Udacity offers another nanodegree. Taking it, you can put your newly-learned skills to use and advance even more. 

The Udacity self-driving car nanodegree I’m talking about is Become a Self-Driving Car Engineer. This nanodegree is more advanced than the previous one, and it is recommended to have taken the previous Udacity self-driving car course before tackling this one. 

The course will prepare you for working with self-driving cars, as upon completion, you will have gained advanced knowledge in the field. It combines various disciplines that are required in order to create self-driving cars. 

Udacity self-driving car: autonomous drive button

They range from engineering to programming to deep learning. So, you’ll improve your skills in all these three disciplines and many more and be able to apply them to driverless cars. If this doesn’t convince you yet, let’s see some points of this course!

Plenty of Projects

One thing that stands out in this course is that you’ll be met with various projects in every module. That means that you won’t be there being bored by hours of lectures, but you’ll also get to put your newly-acquired knowledge into practice. 

Testing out your knowledge is really important. While learning, it may seem to be all clear, and you might get it all in theory. However, once you have to put your skills to use, it might get a little more complicated. 

That’s why it’s important to practice from early on. Not only does it help to test your skills, but it also keeps you entertained. While learning by itself is exciting to many, it might be a bit idealistic to assume that you’d be able to sit and listen for hours without getting distracted. 

That’s when practical tasks come in handy. Doing things yourself and seeing that the information you learn is not just lines in a book or words pronounced by a lecturer can really help you stay focused on a course. 

Furthermore, it helps to keep your motivation high. Taking a long course, you might see it as a really high mountain which will take you months to climb. Successfully completing a project, you get a few smaller victories that keep you going

So, hands-on projects are definitely a huge benefit. 

Very Thorough 

Another great thing about this Udacity self-driving car course is that it is very thorough and well-structured. Simply by taking a look through the reviews, you’ll notice how many people emphasized the fact that they liked the structure of the course. 

It’s very important to find a course that follows a logical order and isn’t scattered or rushed. It can definitely make or break your experience and ability to learn. If you come across the hardest problems that you can’t solve at the very beginning of the course, it’s not likely that you’re going to stick to it, is it?

Well, I’d probably drop it instantly. Good courses like this one start with an introduction, which is followed by the information presented in a nice order,  which doesn’t put the most complicated things in the beginning. 

Also, all modules are made logically. First, you’re introduced to the topic, and only then do you get to solve the problems and have practical tasks. That means that you’ll first thoroughly learn the topic, and only then will you try it out yourself by doing practical tasks. 

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Challenging

This course is rather challenging. Some may see it as a bad thing but trust me, it definitely isn’t. Having a course that makes you think and actually challenges you to become better is one of the best things you can come across. 

There are so many course creators that are scared of deterring people simply by presenting the information that’s actually needed in order to work in the field. This sort of white lies aren’t going to lead anywhere. 

It’s much better to take your time and learn about each and every minute topic and not realize that you don’t know much after claiming that you’re on an advanced level in the field in your CV. 

The course takes you through all the topics that are required when making self-driving cars. 

So, you’ll get to familiarize yourself with all the subjects needed and will be able to confidently state that you are a self-driving car engineer. 

Also, keep in mind that it takes around 6 months to finish the course. While some, who have more time in their hands and a higher motivation to learn, might do it faster, it’s still quite a big investment. 

You have to make sure you’re motivated enough and will be able to stick to it. After all, it’s definitely worth it. 

Conclusions 

Udacity self-driving car courses are a great start to your driverless cars’ engineer job. While it might not be one of the easiest subjects to learn, it’s definitely worth it as it seems to be the profession of the future

There are two main nanodegrees on Udacity on the topic. The first one is Intro to Self-Driving Cars. The course is more of an introductory course, which will help you prepare for the following nanodegree. 

However, you should still keep in mind that it requires some prior knowledge in the fields of programming and mathematics. You can definitely take some preparatory courses on the topics, such as Introduction to Programming nanodegree. 

The second course is Become a Self-Driving Car Engineer. The course is more advanced and will teach you more. However, if you want to take this course, you have to come well-prepared for it. 

Both of the courses are well-worth your attention and can provide invaluable information on the topic. All you have to do is understand that you’ll have to work hard and start learning as soon as possible. 

One of the best ways to do it is by taking Udacity courses. So, make sure to head to Udacity and start your journey to becoming a self-driving car engineer. 

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FAQ

Are Udacity self-driving car courses any good?

Yes, many people have taken and loved the Udacity self-driving car courses. The reviews are splendid and both of the nanodegrees are very well-made. So, make sure to check out the 2 top courses: Intro to Self-Driving Cars and Become a Self-Driving Car Engineer

What is a Udacity Nanodegree?

Nanodegrees are Udacity courses that are more extensive. Udacity has both courses and nanodegrees, however, their courses don’t offer as many benefits as nanodegrees do. If you’re serious about your learning of a topic, you’re better off taking a nanodegree.

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