For those looking for an unusual degree course, one in flying car engineering may just fit the bill.

The online course is being offered by Silicon Valley e-learning school Udacity and will begin in February.

It is the brainchild of former Stanford University professor Sebastian Thrun, who previously headed up Google’s self-driving car project, Waymo.

Prof Thrun is hoping to attract at least 10,000 applicants to what he is describing as a “nanodegree”.

A nanodegree, according to Udacity’s website, is an online certification that can be earned in six to 12 months, and aims to teach basic programming skills in various disciplines.

Prof Thrun also runs Kitty Hawk, a start-up with a mission to make the dream of personal flight a reality. Google co-founder Larry Page is one of its investors.

Its first prototype was a one-person drone capable of vertical take-off and landing, which can fly about 10m (33ft).

Previously Udacity has offered a self-driving car course, which has attracted 50,000 applicants since 2016.

The flying car course will be offered in two 12-week terms, costing $1,200 (£850) each, and will include modules in aerial robotics and intelligent air systems.

Prof Thrun said there was currently “a huge shortage of engineers” in the area of self-drive vehicles.

As to flying cars, he said: “It feels like science fiction now. But with Google and Amazon moving in, there is going to be enormous activity around this in the next year or two.”

“In a few years’ time, this will be the hottest topic on the planet.”

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