Race Self-Driving Cars With Udacity!

We’ll bring the car & the sensors, you bring the team & the drive

Oliver Cameron
Udacity Inc


Self-Racing Cars 2016

Self-Driving Car students, we’ve got big news! Udacity & PolySync are providing a self-driving-ready vehicle for the next Self-Racing Cars event, and we are recruiting a student team to write the software and compete to win fastest lap!

As you know, we ❤️ self-driving cars at Udacity. Our Founder & President Sebastian Thrun built one of the first self-driving cars. We teach a self-driving car curriculum that has many thousands of enrolled & motivated students. And, we are building an open source self-driving car in collaboration with a community of autonomous car enthusiasts!

Now, in partnership with PolySync and their OSCC project, we will be providing a car that is self-driving-ready (car & sensors, all hooked up) to a yet-to-be-formed team of Udacity students. This team will be challenged with writing the software to race this vehicle around Thunderhill West (a multi-use motorsport facility for auto, motorcycle and kart club racing located in Willows, CA). This team will receive a cash prize and OSCC hardware kit if the car is able to navigate around the track, and the code will be open sourced!

What is Self-Racing Cars?

Self-Racing Cars is an autonomous racing series. In the early days of car racing, competitors had to build their vehicles before racing them. It was as much an engineering competition as it was a race. This event rekindles that spirit of engineering and creativity.

Following the success of the inaugural event last year, Self-Racing Cars returns in 2017 with a new track day designed to push autonomous cars towards true race-ready shape. More cars, higher speeds, and amazing engineering. The testing and competition event takes place at Thunderhill West on April 1–2, 2017

What is “The Challenge?”

We’re challenging a team of Udacity students (apply below!) to write the software that races a Kia Soul (with OSCC and sensors) around Thunderhill West. PolySync will generously be providing the car.

  1. We will be sponsoring some great cash prizes for “fastest full track by an independent or small company team” and “fastest 1/10th scale lap”
  2. We will be competing for fastest full track lap, in our open source self-driving car

Other participants include startups like Comma, Renovo Motors, Swift Navigation, Revl, and of course PolySync.

The PolySync Kia Soul, based on OSCC. This is the car you’ll be using (sensors TBD)

How do I join the Udacity student team?

First, you must be currently enrolled in the Udacity Self-Driving Car Nanodegree. If you are, and you’re interested in applying for the challenge, head here and fill out this form (or see below). Read it carefully, and fill it out with as much detail as possible (assume that you’re competing with a few hundred applicants). We anticipate the eventual team will be about 10 students, but we may go up or down depending on how many applications we get.

Apply now!

When will I know if I’m on the team?

We’ll share news within the next 2 weeks (by February 14th) via email. Get your applications in now!

What sort of approach will impress Udacity judges who are picking the team?

We’re looking for solutions that utilize deep learning and have minimal sensor cost in mind. Any experience in that area, or building self-driving cars in general, is a big plus.

Why do I want to be on the team?

If you’re looking to launch or advance a career in self-driving cars, I can’t think of a better way to prove that you’re awesome (t0 employers and the world)!

Who will the Udacity student team collaborate with, and how?

We will select team members (around 10) from the qualified applicant pool, and then appoint a team leader. This team leader will be responsible for organizing how collaboration happens, and communicating with Udacity on progress. Udacity will cover any (reasonable!) bills that result from this collaboration (things like pizza, GitHub subscriptions etc.).

The car will be in PolySync’s offices in Portland, Oregon until the week leading up to the event, and you will be expected to build the software, as a team, without the car present. The team will be able to work with PolySync engineers virtually, to ensure that what you’re building works on the car.

The team can themselves decide how to build: whether locally or remotely. You are free to use Udacity’s office to hack together; we can work with you on scheduling and availability. We do require that everyone be present at Thunderhill West on April 1st and 2nd for the event.

This is going to be so awesome! We can’t wait for the Udacity Student team to crush the competition! 😈 If you’re excited, but still unsure about breaking into this revolutionary industry, check out the Udacity Self-Driving Car Nanodegree today. It’s everything you need to know.

Apply to join the Udacity Student team ✏️

As we count down the days until April 1st, please enjoy this video from last years amazing Self-Racing Cars event—this ought to get you pumped!

Self-Racing Cars 2016



Oliver Cameron
Udacity Inc

Obsessed with AI. Built self-driving cars at Cruise and Voyage. Board member at Skyways. Y Combinator alum. Angel investor in 50+ AI startups.