CS294: Robotic Cars for Real People

Winter Quarter of 2008/09


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CS294-2 is a multidisciplinary project course that brings together students interested in robotics (autonomous cars), human robot interfaces, and real-life engineering. The aim is to explore new ways in which robotic technology can make driving safer, more convenient, and more fun. Students will have access to Stanford's fleet of robotic cars, including the car that won $1 million in the 2007 DARPA Urban Challenge.

The main outcomes of this project course will be prototypes of robotic systems that aid human drivers, based on ongoing work on autonomous driving, and experimental research on the prototypes. The instructors hope to draw a diverse variety of students. Some students will work on core engineering topics, such as the development of advanced car perception and control methods. Others will leverage their interest in human factors and human machine interfaces by guiding the developments of the prototypes and performing experiemtnal research on them.

Students will be organized into interdisciplinary teams. CS294 is a project-based course that focuses on learning by doing. Each team will pursue a different project. All teams will receive close guidance from the two professors Thrun and Nass as well as advanced graduate students in their laboratories,


There are no formal prerequisites. However, students who plan to work on the robotics component of the class should have exposure to topics in AI (eg: CS 221) and strong C programming skills. Students working on the human factors and HCI component do not need previous background.

Instructors, Schedule, Grading

The instructors are Communication Professor Clifford Nass and CS/EE Professor Sebastian Thrun. The course assistant is David Stavens.

The class meets 1:15 - 2:30 MW, although many class sessions will be converted into project discussion time and/or work on the car in the field.

Grading is 100% on the project. No HOMEWORK or exams.

To Enroll

Please take this brief survey. You will also have to enroll in Axess.

Please notice in Axess that this class is the "Lecture Section 2" of "CS 294". "Lecture Section 1" is a completely separate class taught by Professor Andrew Ng.

Course overview
Time and location