Rudolf Reinhard und Thomas Hierlinger stehen draußen an Tisch und unterhalten sich

Training with Udacity

This is how Audi trains its employees to become digital experts

Audi is keeping its employees in the loop on major future topics of artificial intelligence and big data via the online academy Udacity. Blog author Olivia Faulbacher talked to two graduates and found out, why the company counts on Udacity in terms of professional training and how keeps its drop-out rate at almost zero.

Karte Colab Café
The chosen venue for the talk about the professional training with Udacity was the Colab Café, a co-working space on the grounds of the Audi plant in Ingolstadt.

“You get really anxious to progress and are always looking forward to the next project,” says Rudolf Reinhard, Data Scientist from the Audi Production Lab. We are sitting in Ingolstadt’s Colab Café, a co-working space on the grounds of the Audi plant. He is talking about his Udacity training as a data analyst. “I often catch myself losing track of time while working on projects.”

Audi employees have the full support of their supervisors. Audi employees have the full support of their supervisors. Since autumn 2017, the company has been training its employees in cooperation with the online “university” Udacity in Silicon Valley in major future fields such as autonomous driving, machine and deep learning, as well as big data.

Focus on Big Data and Artificial Intelligence with Udacity

“The learning opportunities are specifically tailored to our individual needs. This enables us to build up expert knowledge in our respective subject area very quickly,” Reinhard emphasizes. In a pilot project last autumn, he completed the Udacity course “Data Analyst” as a participant, and is now a tutor for the course “Business Analyst”.

“The training to become a data analyst takes six months in total. We combine the online learning format with monthly presence tutorials here at Audi,” the data scientist reveals in an interview. The situation is similar for Thomas Hierlinger – he was a participant in the pilot phase in autumn and is now a tutor for the Self Driving Car Engineer program.

Interview mit Rudolf Reinhard und Thomas Hierlinger

During the interview, Rudolf Reinhard and Thomas Hierlinger explain to Audi blog author Olivia Faulbacher how Audi prepares its employees for the future by working with Udacity.

But what exactly does such an Udacity training look like? “The online course itself always starts with short explanatory videos. Afterwards, the participants are posed with questions or given a small programming task”, explains the engineer for anticipatory vehicle safety. If the student solves this task correctly, an “Awesome!” button appears directly. “Some elements are really typical American and I think that’s great”, says Hierlinger and smiles.

Graduates receive nanodegrees

The individual learning units are then concluded with projects that are evaluated by an expert from Udacity in an individual review. Once they have successfully completed all projects, the participants acquire a nanodegree – now a recognized seal of quality. For this, Thomas Hierlinger is currently investing around ten hours per week of his time.

Hierlinger opens his laptop. “I’ll show you an exciting project on the topic path planning.” The goal here was to write an algorithm that plans the course path for an autonomously driving car in a simulator. “That sounds quite complex,” Rudolf Reinhard replies. Hierlinger nods and stresses: “It is, but Udacity helps us here with brief instructions on every individual work step”.

This is how Audi employees apply their expert knowledge from Udacity

Thomas Hierlinger can now benefit directly from this expertise in his daily work. He and his team are working on the further development of driver assistance systems. “I have developed a deeper understanding of complex sensor data mergers and can now work more efficiently with colleagues in data fusion, for example,” he explains.

Rudolf Reinhard nods and adds: “If you have the affinity to acquire knowledge yourself, you can go very far with Udacity. This also creates significant added value for production. If huge amounts of data can be evaluated and analyzed here, Audi can make the production of its cars more intelligent and efficient.

Interviewsituation Olivia Faulbacher, Rudolf Reinhard, Thomas Hierlinger
Together bound for „digital premium car company“: In their roles as tutors of the Udacity-trainings, Rudolf Reinhard and Thomas Hierlinger are part of the Audi data.camp initiative.

This is what lies behind Audi’s success rate

In order to train its employees as digital experts, Audi has adapted the training with Udacity to its own needs. With success – the drop-out rate has gone towards almost zero. Audi’s own classroom training courses, for example, complement the online offering.

“I am convinced that our tutorials have contributed immensely to our high graduation rate. They really help when you’re at your wits’ end. This creates motivation and awakens ambition,” emphasizes Thomas Hierlinger. If the participants have any questions or problems, they can ask for help at any time in our own Udacity Community on the company’s intranet.

Gespräch am Tisch mit Raumansicht

Successful professional training in order to become a data analyst or a machine learning engineer? By combining the online-platform Udacity and in-class lectures at Audi, the company keeps the dropout rate of participants low and the amount of nano degrees increasing.

Udacity’s reviews are also decisive: “The evaluations are motivating and very helpful. Even if you’ve done everything right, you get an additional tip, like it would be even more elegant,” says Rudolf Reinhard. So far, he and Hierlinger have received very positive feedback for the platform and the learning environment at Audi in their groups as tutors.

New learning approach for building up your own IT expertise

Audi is deliberately breaking new ground with this innovative educational approach. Vandana Zitterell, consultant for competence management in the company, explains: “Udacity enables us to quickly and very practically sharpen our own IT expertise. And that is a decisive competitive factor today”. In addition, the platform is market-oriented and constantly develops new learning opportunities as required. The transformation to the Digital Car Company is therefore picking up speed. With a university of the digital age. And a highly motivated Audi team.

The experts of the future

To prepare employees for future topics, such as Artificial Intelligence, Audi offers professional trainings using the online academy Udacity. Via this platform, courses on autonomous driving, machine and deep learning as well as big data are offered to interested employees. The courses are concluded with a nanodegree.

Thomas Hierlinger explains how he learned to write algorithms in the context of autonomous driving with the help of guided online-courses.
That’s how fun professional training can be: Thanks to interesting topics and the appealing functionality of the trainings, Udacity has the ability to enthuse.
From participant to tutor: Within the scope of Udacity, Thomas Hierlinger supports participants, supervises learning projects and establishes the connection between technical to practical learnings.

Thomas Hierlinger explains how he learned to write algorithms in the context of autonomous driving with the help of guided online-courses.

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That’s how fun professional training can be: Thanks to interesting topics and the appealing functionality of the trainings, Udacity has the ability to enthuse.

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From participant to tutor: Within the scope of Udacity, Thomas Hierlinger supports participants, supervises learning projects and establishes the connection between technical to practical learnings.

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Audi starts further-training campaign for big data and artificial intelligence
Audi MediaCenter

Audi starts further-training campaign for big data and artificial intelligence

Audi is making its employees fit for the digital future: Under the “data.camp” motto, the automobile manufacturer has started a further-training campaign focused on big data and artificial intelligence. Expertise in these areas is an essential basis for the development of cars driving in piloted mode, intelligent robots and digital mobility services. One important element here is Audi’s cooperation with the online platform Udacity.

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