Driving Into The Future: Infosys And Udacity Partner To Invest In Autonomous Vehicle Education

We don’t always recognize change while it happens, but, when we look back, the scale of change can seem staggering. Twenty years ago I began my journey as a nuclear scientist, but since then my own skills and roles have evolved several times, most often influenced by new technologies. We’re now in a period of unprecedented discovery and advancement, and I firmly believe that there has never been a more exciting time to be part of the global workforce.

Self-driving vehicles is one area experiencing rapid innovation. The World Economic Forum, a non-profit organization, estimates that self-driving vehicles will produce roughly US$1 trillion in global economic and societal benefits within 10 years and, most importantly, save as many as 1.2 million lives.

Automated vehicles, whether fully or partially autonomous, are capturing imagination in all sorts of areas. Yet, the skills necessary to make self-driving vehicles a reality are scarce. Autonomous technology requires a breadth of knowledge — from computer vision and deep learning to physics, calculus, statistics, and much more — but the structure to impart that knowledge is only just being built.

To accelerate this knowledge transfer and address the future needs of organizations everywhere, Infosys is partnering with Udacity on its self-driving nanodegree program called CarND. The program, adapted for Infosys to be Udacity’s first in-person training program, is significant for two key reasons. First, it will accelerate the pace of autonomous skill adoption, enabling Infosys employees to more quickly deploy autonomous technologies across industries like automotive, manufacturing, and mining. Second, it advances our commitment to lifelong learning of our global network of engineers, giving our teams the opportunity to work with emerging, world-changing technologies that will shape our future.

That commitment to lifelong learning is critical for the success of any organization, especially on the precipice of a future fueled by autonomy. As Vishal Makhijani, Udacity’s CEO, pointed out to me, the far-reaching potential for autonomous vehicles is mind-boggling.

Udacity and Infosys are uniting the elements of education and transformative technology in this one-of-a-kind program. Trainees, with the first 100 selected through a global hackathon in late November, will immerse themselves in autonomous technology courses that require hands-on training to simulate real-life scenarios. By the end of 2018, Infosys will have trained 500 employees on the spectrum of technologies that go into building self-driving vehicles, and in doing so will help to evolve the future of transportation for drivers, commuters and even mass transit systems.

Virtual and in-person classrooms with courses that blend coding, artificial intelligence, computer visioning, and vehicle architecture provides a unique experience for Infosys employees. The lessons the trainees will learn will be applied to self-driving vehicles entering the roadways in the next year and beyond.

Perhaps the most exciting element of this partnership is the opportunity it gives our people to learn. The global economy is entering a new knowledge-driven age. This requires significant investment in the education and training of employees across the globe, across backgrounds, and across social structures. It’s an investment in everyone’s future and it’s one we’re proud to make.

Clarissa Shen, COO of Udacity, said it best: “Education, like many other industries touched by the rapid advance of technology, needs to be reflective of its times. For us that means investing in the philosophy of lifelong learning and continual improvement. That’s something we believe everyone ought to be invested in.”

I’m proud of what Infosys is doing, to provide lifelong learning and embrace new technologies. It’s exciting to be part of a company that is helping to shape how these advances can make our world better.