How To Become a Self-Driving Car Engineer

self-driving-car-engineer

Automation is upon us and we are slowly moving towards a better future. In our last article, we discussed on how to become an AI engineer, and now here we are again. In this article, we will focus on “How to become a self-driving car engineer.

Before we dive deep into the question, you need to ask yourself, why would you want to become a self-driving car engineer? What are the challenges of becoming a self-driving car engineer? We will try to answer the questions from a general perspective.

First, companies are investing heavily in self-driving technology. Companies such as Nvidia, Tesla, Paysa and others are hiring top-notch self-driving car engineers. There is a huge demand for self-driving car engineers. The average median salary for the profession is $134k per annum — much higher than other technologies.

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Secondly, automation will come and change the market considerably. If you are a software engineer with web development experience, you may want to look into your future course of action.

 

Can you become a self-driving car engineer?

Of course, you can. However, if you are completely new to the programming, the path is not easy.  A good working knowledge of computers and mathematics can give you a good advantage.

self-driving-car-competition

Autonomous Vehicle Competition 2010

Self-driving car technology depends on multiple fields, including robotics, machine learning, mechanical engineering, and computer vision. As you have guessed it until now, even if you become a self-driving car engineer, you will be working on only a small problem and trying to coordinate with other engineers on the project.

According to Danny Mairani on Quora, a self-driving car engineer only needs to work on one specific task. It can be sensors, input, performance, hardware, etc. It’s not like other trades where you can manage everything by yourself. The complexity is always there, and that’s why it is a heavily-paid trade right now.

 

Building a remote-controlled car

The second step is exploring the trade yourself. Self-exploration is highly rewarding and applies to every field. The best way to get started is to build yourself a remote controlled car. It doesn’t have to be something extremely fancy or complicated. A simple self-driving car project will do wonders and will make sure you are familiar with the basic technology.

Few things that you need to take care when working on the project are adding sensors, decision-making logic, learning, tools for controlling cars both manually and automated, and so on. There are multiple challenges that you need to go through to make it happen. For example, you need to do route planning, write logic to handle poor visibility, dealing with traffic signals, etc.

A great answer by Jason Collis on how to get started with remote-controlled car build can give you a good head-start. Check it out to know more and the areas as well as resources that you need to explore them.

 

Understand Autonomous car tech stack

The next step is to understand the autonomous car tech stack. The three components that you need to understand are the “Data collection and connectivity,” “Big Data Cloud,” as well as  “Deep learning and AI.”

The tech stack is common to every autonomous car project you do. The tech stack is huge and hence would require dedicated learning with an effort to improve every single day. Adam Fisher in his post, “The AI Technology Stack”, discusses the importance of the stack and how each technology plays an important part.

There are also online courses that you can take to jump into the AI or autonomous car tech stack. However, it is advisable to explore the field yourself as self-learning is the best way to learn a ground-breaking tech.

 

Build relations with other self-driving car engineers

The next step is to “network.” Without networking, you will not reach your true potential and eventually waste time. Networking is crucial if you want to get noticed in the market. Peers will always be fond of your presence and it will be easy for you to work on cutting-edge technology and research.

You can start networking by attending AI-related conferences. You can also invest your time and follow streamers who love Artificial Intelligence. Following their work and streams would allow you to improve your network and hence increase your chances to work on amazing projects.

 

Broadcast your self-driving car project

The last step is to broadcast your self-driving car projects. Streaming has always been a way by which you can connect with your audience and other self-driving engineers who are working at top-tech companies such as Uber, Google, etc.

You can get started with broadcasting by following the tutorial for, “Creating a Blog Project.” By streaming your experiences, you are exposing yourself to other self-driving car experts and audience who are eager to know about your project. This will surely give you the moral boost to continue with your learning and become an outstanding self-driving car engineer.

We will soon release learn pages for the new topics where you will have all the listed information to get started. You can check the current Learn pages to know more.

learn-page

Learn about any technology you like or love!

 

Final Thoughts

The best way to get started is to build something. As true as it sounds here, building something is the best way to learn any skill, it can be Data Science, Programming or Artificial Intelligence. Pick up a small truck miniature and give it all the sensors, coding and training to automate its self-driving. Then, go forward and try to integrate more functionalities such as making it work in dim lights or on high-speed traffic. The challenge is there, all you need to do is take it head-on.

So, what do you think about becoming a self-driving car engineer? Comment below and let us know. Also, don’t forget to mention anything nifty tips or tricks that can help anyone to get started.

  • Emily Rose

    Nice article! Clearly, there are a lot of resources online that one can use to learn Self-driving car technology. As you have mentioned, the best way to learning something is to do it. Building a small self-driving car can immensely help someone to know the trade better. Reading does help, but the big change happens in real world practice. And, after the car will run in real-world environment xD

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