CEO, Kitty Hawk Corporation | Chairman and Co-Founder, Udacity
Sebastian Thrun is CEO of Udacity, an online private educational organization. He was a Google Fellow and VP, and a Research Professor at Stanford University. He has published over 370 scientific papers and 11 books, and he is a member of the National Academy of Engineering in the US.
Fast Company named him the fifth most creative person in business, and Foreign Policy touted him Global Thinker #4. He works on revolutionizing all of transportation, education, and mobile devices. At Google, founded Google X, which is home to projects like the Google self-driving car and the recently announced Google Glass. He and his team are trying to radically innovate, innovate, innovate. He led the development of the Google self-driving car.
He is also known for his work on probabilistic programming techniques in robotics, with applications including robotic mapping. In recognition of his contributions, and at age 39, he was elected into the National Academy of Engineering and the German Academy of Sciences Leopoldina in 2007.
He led development of the robotic vehicle Stanley which won the 2005 DARPA Grand Challenge, and which has since been placed on exhibit in the Smithsonian Institution's National Museum of American History. His team also developed a vehicle called Junior, which placed second at the DARPA Urban Challenge in 2007.
He says: "I am on a mission to learn from Google's amazing founders, Sergey and Larry". "At Udacity, we are trying to democratize higher education. Udacity stands for "we are audacious, for you, the student". This is an audacious step, and it has been a thrill ride." He is an educator, programmer, robotics developer and computer scientist from Germany.
In 2011, he received the Max-Planck-Research Award and the inaugural AAAI Ed Feigenbaum Prize.