Coursera launches Univ of Toronto’s specialisation course on autonomous vehicles

by Autocar Pro News Desk , 31 Jan 2019

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Coursera, a leading online learning platform, today launched a 'self-driving cars specialisation' created by the University of Toronto, a leading institution in the field of robotics research and autonomous driving. The four-part online specialisation course is the first-of-its-kind to provide learners with state-of-the-art knowledge and engineering to make safe autonomous vehicles a reality.

The course is aimed for individuals who already have some engineering experience, but little or no formal training in self-driving technologies. Experts predict that the market for self-driving cars will reach $42 billion (Rs 298,284 crore) by 2025 and that the demand for skilled workers within the autonomous vehicle industry will continue to climb, creating more than 100,000 mobility industry related jobs in the next decade in USA alone.

The major players in today’s self-driving car market guard their technology and advancements closely, making it difficult to gain access to the crucial knowledge needed to enter the field. To democratise access to top quality self-driving car development knowledge, Coursera and the University of Toronto will offer a series of advanced, hands-on simulation and programming assignments at an industry-leading price of $79 (Rs 5,610) per month.

Commenting on the course, Jeff Maggioncalda, CEO, Coursera said: “Self-driving cars will reshape our cities and our lives, in the process creating tens of thousands of new jobs for those who have the right skills. We’re excited to partner with the University of Toronto, a top-ranked leader in autonomous vehicle research, to train the next generation of engineers who will bring safe, autonomous vehicles to public roads.”

Coursera says the specialisation is taught by world-renowned experts, Professor Steven Waslander and Professor Jonathan Kelly from the University of Toronto, based on over 30 years of experience and pioneering techniques in autonomous robotics research. The enrolled students will also learn directly from industry experts from leading companies like Oxbotica and Zoox.

Jonathan Kelly, assistant professor, University of Toronto Institute for Aerospace Studies, said: “Self-driving cars have the potential to increase road safety, lead to more efficient use of roadways and vehicles, and even reduce pollution. I think you’d be hard-pressed to find a more challenging engineering problem than designing robust self-driving cars. But that challenge is very exciting. It forces us to think about new ways of doing things. And the more people we have doing it, the greater our chances of success.”

The course will provide a detailed understanding of the architecture and components of a self-driving car software stack, methods for static and dynamic object detection including processing real-time data from sensors, estimating a car’s location, and issuing commands for vehicle control. By the end of the four-course Specialisation, students will be able to drive a virtual car around a simulated racetrack.

The first course of the new Specialisation began on January 30, with subsequent courses rolling out during 2019.

Coursera was founded by Daphne Koller and Andrew Ng with a vision of providing life-transforming learning experiences to anyone, anywhere. It is the now world’s largest online learning platform for higher education. 170 of the world’s top universities and industry educators partner with Coursera to offer courses, Specialisations, and degrees that empower over 38 million learners around the world to achieve their career goals.

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