MIT 6.S094: Introduction to Deep Learning and Self-Driving Cars | Summary and Q&A

January 16, 2017
Lex Fridman
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MIT 6.S094: Introduction to Deep Learning and Self-Driving Cars

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This video introduces the methods of deep learning for building self-driving cars. The instructor discusses the projects involved in the course, the challenges of driving, and the recent breakthroughs in machine learning. The topics covered include neural networks, deep learning, representation learning, and the applications of convolutional neural networks in image recognition and segmentation.

Questions & Answers

Q: Who are the instructors for the course?

The main instructor is Lex Fridman, with Dan Brown, Spencer Dodd, William Angell, and Benedict Jenik as the TAs.

Q: What are the two projects in the course?

The first project is called "DeepTraffic," which involves designing a neural network to control a car in a simulation game. The second project is called "DeepTesla," which uses data from a Tesla vehicle to train a neural network to predict the steering angle.

Q: What are the components of autonomous driving that the course covers?

The course covers perception, visual perception, localization, mapping, control planning, and detection of driver state.

Q: How does deep learning relate to traditional machine learning?

Deep learning is a subset of machine learning that focuses on using deep neural networks, which have many layers. Deep learning allows for representation learning, where the network learns to extract features automatically from the input data.

Q: What is the purpose of the different layers in a neural network?

The exact purpose of each layer is not well understood. However, each layer helps to build a higher-level representation of the input data, which allows the network to learn more complex patterns and features.

Q: What are some challenges of deep neural networks?

Deep neural networks require a large amount of labeled data for training, and they also require careful tuning of hyperparameters. Additionally, understanding why deep neural networks work so well is still an open question.

Q: What is the recent progress in deep learning for image recognition?

Deep neural networks, such as convolutional neural networks (CNNs), have achieved human-level performance in image recognition tasks like classifying objects in images. The error rate has decreased from 16% in 2012 to less than 4% in recent years.

Q: How are convolutional neural networks (CNNs) used in image recognition?

CNNs process images through convolutional layers that maintain spatial information. The network learns to extract features from the images and make predictions based on those features.

Q: What is segmentation in computer vision?

Segmentation refers to the process of dividing an image into different regions or objects. CNNs can also be used for image segmentation tasks, where the network learns to classify each pixel in an image.

Q: What is the difference between supervised learning and unsupervised learning?

Supervised learning involves learning from labeled examples, where the input and output are known. Unsupervised learning involves learning from unlabeled data, where the network is not given explicit outputs to learn from.


Deep learning, particularly through the use of convolutional neural networks, has made significant progress in image recognition tasks and has achieved human-level performance. However, understanding how and why deep neural networks work so effectively is still a challenge. Deep learning requires large amounts of data and careful tuning of hyperparameters, and it is hungry for more data to learn from. While deep learning has shown promise in various applications, there is still much work to be done to apply it to more generalized tasks and to ensure ethical decision-making in domains such as self-driving cars.

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