Silicon Valley online education start-up Udacity is spinning out its school for driverless car engineers to develop self-driving taxis, taking aim at the likes of Uber Technologies Inc, the company said on Thursday.
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Udacity was co-founded by Sebastian Thrun, who was also the co-founder of the Google X research lab that led development of Google’s self-driving car.
The new company, dubbed Voyage Auto, will not build its own cars but it will retrofit existing vehicles.
“I’m starting a new thing with great friends called Voyage Auto,” Chief Executive Oliver Cameron said on his LinkedIn page. “We’re deploying autonomous taxis to real users very, very soon.”
Cameron is a former VP engineering & product at Udacity. He said on his LinkedIn page that “Voyage is building an extremely cheap and safe autonomous taxi service.”
Udacity is worth more than $1 billion. It is betting that its focus on vocational courses for professionals, as well as its work for global companies such as Google, will help it to stand out in the fast-growing online education industry.
The LinkedIn page of Voyage Auto showed it had 4 employees.
Business Insider reported first about Voyage Auto. It said Voyage would not be using any of the technology built by Udacity’s students, citing Chief Marketing Officer Shernaz Daver.