Sebastian Thrun is a scientist, educator, inventor, and entrepreneur.
He is the founder, chairman, and president of Udacity, whose mission is to democratize education. Udacity focuses on affordable, lifelong learning to give people the needed skills to get a new job or advance their career. Today, the company has over 4 million students worldwide and more than 11,000 enrolled in its Nanodegree program, which is built with companies like Google, Facebook, AT&T and GitHub, and whose graduates land jobs at world-leading employers.
Thrun is also the founder of X (previously Google X), where he led the development of the self-driving car, Google Glass, and other projects.
Thrun spent several years as a professor at Stanford University where he led the Stanford Racing Team, whose robot “Stanley” won the DARPA Grand Challenge. Stanley is now on display at the Air and Space Museum in Washington, DC.
Thrun completed his education in Germany with a master’s degree and a PhD from the University of Bonn. While at Bonn, he led a team of roboticists who developed the mobile robot “Rhino,” which won second prize at an international robot competition organized by the Association for the Advancement of Artificial Intelligence.
Thrun is the recipient of several awards including the inaugural Smithsonian American Ingenuity Award for Education in 2012. His work has also been highlighted in the “50 Best Inventions of 2010” by TIME magazine. Thrun was listed as the #4 Global Thinker by Foreign Policy and the 5th most creative person in business by Fast Company.