A group of students and instructors from the Udacity nanodegree for self-driving engineers spun off their own startup. Voyage,so the name of the company, aims at developing robotaxis by equipping existing cars with self-driving technologies. The goal is to quickly start testing the cars with passengers.
The CEO of the new startup is Oliver Cameron, who developed a large part of the Udacity nanodegree. According to the report from Business Insider his decision came after Udacity’s driverless car, equipped with its open source software drove 31 miles along the El Camino Real in the Bay Area along 140 traffic signals and crosswalks during regular traffic over a period of an hour-and-a-half. The experience cemented Cameron’s decision to start his own company.
The startup plans to develop a voice interface that allows passengers an easy and natural way of interacting with the taxi. Not only the destination can be controlled by the passenger, but also music and everything else.
Voyage also was able to secure its first seed funding and is actively searching for hires, especially engineers. Job seekers can use this email-adresse.
Sebastian Thrun, Udacity-founder and the Godfather of self-driving vehicles, is not part of the spinoff. Also, because this would bring him in conflict with his former role as head of Google’s self-driving car program (now Waymo).
Udacity provided the following statement:
Our Self-Driving Car Nanodegree program has seen strong demand with over 6,600 students enrolled worldwide and 24 hiring partners including Mercedes-Benz, BMW, Nvidia and Delphi among others. We are thrilled to have built a program of this calibre and have the ability to spin off a company in the self-driving space — there is no better testimony for the program. We look forward to watching Voyage grow in this exciting space.
This article was also published in German.