Free code can turn regular cars into self-driving vehicles

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Free code can turn regular cars into self-driving vehicles
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If you have a 2006 or newer vehicle, you may be able to turn it into a self-driving car thanks to free code being released online.

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Hacking your way into the brave new world of autonomous vehicles

The techies over at Comma.ai are upset that federal regulators are pushing back on their efforts to market a self-driving kit. So they’ve decided to go rogue and release their software online for free.

If you go to GitHub, you can download the code for what’s being called ‘openpilot.’ This free software will automate Adaptive Cruise Control (ACC) and Lane Keeping Assist System (LKAS) in two vehicles so far — the Acura ILX 2016 and the Honda Civic 2016 Touring Edition.

Making use of the software requires a dashcam-like device that users can build with a 3D printer. The device then has to be plugged into the vehicle’s controller area network, or what’s called the BUS, which can be found in most cars built after 2006.

Equipped with an Android OnePlus 3 phone, the device can then run the code and scan the road via the phone’s camera to make self-driving functionality a reality.

Clearly, this is a project for tinkerers. If you don’t have a high level of sophistication with hardware and software, you probably wouldn’t want to attempt this yourself!

Get a self-driving car engineering degree for $2,400!

For those who are interested in self-driving car engineering, Udacity is accepting applications for its self-driving engineer nanodegree program.

What’s a nanodegree program you ask? It’s a miniaturized course of study — three terms of 12-week courses. The coursework is designed by Mercedes-Benz, chip maker Nvidia Corp and self-driving truck startup Otto, which is now part of Uber.

Most of the applicants to the program are folks who are already software engineers. So it’s probably safe to say the novices need not apply. If you do have what it takes, expect some stiff competition to get into this program. There are only 1,000 spots available and nearly 4,000 applicants at the moment!

But here’s the bright side: If you do get in and complete the coursework, you’ll be rewarded with salaries in the field of around $138,000, according to numbers cited by Reuters.

More about Udacity

Clark has long believed that education and training are the keys to better tomorrow. The good news on that front is that Udacity is actually about much more than just self-driving car engineering degrees.

The Nanodegree Plus coursework it offers across a variety of fields has been designed in conjunction with major employers like Google, Facebook, AT&T, Amazon and many others based on the needs they’re anticipating among new hires in the coming years.

Classes are virtual, which means you get access to student forums, professional project portfolio reviews, mentorship and instructor office hours. Here are 12 other tech-heavy courses of study being offered:

  • Machine Learning Engineer
  • Android Developer
  • Senior Web Developer
  • iOS Developer
  • Beginning iOS App Development
  • Beginning Ruby
  • 2D Mobile Game Developer | LibGDX
  • Front-End Web Developer
  • Tech Entrepreneur
  • Data Analyst
  • Full Stack Web Developer
  • Intro to Programming

Learn more about Udacity by clicking here.

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Theo Thimou About the author:
Theo is director of content for clark.com. He has co-written 2 books with Clark Howard, including the #1 New York Times bestseller Clark Howard's Living Large in Lean Times.
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