Self Driving Car Subject


Self Driving Cars are the most active topic right now in industry, and make the strongest case for a focus area due to the technical difficulty, tremendous funding, impact for the planet and the flow on uses of relevant technologies into many other high demand areas.

Why Self Driving cars?

There are several reasons for why our focus is on self driving cars.


They comprise the most fascinating problems of computer and mechanical science

  • deep learning
  • computer vision
  • path planning
  • sensor hardware
  • mechatronics

Financial Reward

The average engineer salary for a self driving car engineer is US$233K/year.

Over the last 3 years, US$100B has been committed to building self driving cars and their required technologies, mostly by automakers but also by chip manufacturers such as Nvidia and Intel (acquired Mobileye for $15B), and sensor manufacturers such as Velodyne.


Self driving cars will mean 

  • 10x fewer fatalities are targeted
  • 10+ hours returned to each driver per week to use recreationally or productively
  • 10x fewer cars required
  • Ability to distribute housing over a wider period and return to less dense living

Skill continuity

Even after the self driving car revolution has arrived, the skills are directly applicable to:

  • Drones (auto piloting and image analysis)

  • VR and AR (localization, occlusion, hand/graphics interfaces)

  • Medical Diagnostics (computer vision)

  • Surgical Robotics (mechatronics, machine vision)

Existing Courses

Modelled with reference to:

Structure of the course

The exact structure of the course would be determined in consultation with faculty.

The initial proposal is to offer the course as a double 3rd year unit (half total study load).

During this unit, students would complete as much of the MIT Race Car Curriculum as possible, and extend into the Udacity Self Driving nanodegree where possible.

For earlier students, the course could be expanded to include  1-2 standard size subjects per year in 1st and 2nd year, developing it into a full major.