Embraer Pulse

Years ago, when I was studying computer science in Brazil, Embraer was the place for aspiring Brazilian engineers to work. Petrobras had the money, but Embraer had the cache of being Brazil’s technology company that was on-par with the rest of the world.

Embraer is the world’s third-largest aircraft manufacturer, after Boeing and Airbus. Think about that. The world’s largest aircraft manufacturer is in Europe, the second-largest manufacturer is in the United States, and the third largest is in…Brazil.

Not China, not Taiwan, not Japan, not India, not back in the US. It’s in San Jose dos Campos.

I’m always a little thrilled to step onto an Embraer regional jet. A little bit of Brazil in the sky.

2020 has been rough for Embraer, as for all aviation companies. COVID-19 has brought commercial aviation to a standstill. The company has furloughed 30% of its employees. A multi-billion dollar joint venture with Boeing just fell apart.

Embraer continues to dream big. At South by Southwest last year, Embraer had a huge presence, touting their eVOTL vision.

I recently re-watched Embraer’s Pulse concept video from last fall. It feels pretty sci-fi, like a lot of concept videos, but it’s exciting to see a Brazilian company envision the future.


Sebastian Thrun, who is my boss at Udacity, is also the CEO of Kitty Hawk. Today, he announced Kitty Hawk’s third-generation eVTOL. The aircraft is called Heaviside, named after electrical engineering pioneer Oliver Heaviside.

The vehicle has rotors for vertical take off and landing (VTOL), and also wings that provide lift for short-range flying.

Most of the press articles seem to highlight how much quieter Heaviside is than a helicopter. To my mind, those, it just looks much more elegant.

Join Me On Thursday For Our Online Open House For Udacity’s School Of Autonomous Systems!

This Thursday, August 23rd, at 9am Pacific Time, I will be hosting an online open house for Udacity’s School of Autonomous Systems. RSVP now to join me, my Udacity colleagues, our alumni, and other potential students, and learn about our many exciting programs!

The School of Autonomous Systems is the home for Udacity’s Self-Driving Car, Flying Car, Robotics, and Intro to Self-Driving Cars Nanodegree Programs.

At the Open House, I’ll share an overview of each program, compare them, and describe the careers for which each option prepares you.

We’ll finish with a live question-and-answer session, co-hosted by myself and several of my Udacity instructional colleagues, to answer as many of your questions as we can.

RSVP now to join us on Thursday! And don’t worry if you can’t make it! RSVP via the link, and we’ll send you the recording of the open house so you don’t miss out!