News in Numbers, Sep 30, 2016: How to become a self-driving car engineer


What is it? The number of terrorist launch pads attacked by the Indian Army in surgical strikes across the Line of Control (LoC) Wednesday night. A surgical strike is a military attack that is intended to inflict damage on a specific target with minimum collateral damage to the surrounding areas.

Why is it important? Indian army acted upon information that terrorist teams had positioned themselves at launch pads along the LoC to infiltrate and carry out terrorist strikes in Jammu and Kashmir, according to the Director General of Military Operations. 38 terrorists were killed. Indian Army didn’t suffer any casualties. This comes nearly 10 days after 18 Indian jawans were killed in a terror strike in Uri, Jammu and Kashmir.

Tell me more: The operation, which used a combination of heliborne and ground forces and took place 2-3 km away from the LoC, were carried out Wednesday night. While Pakistani Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif condemned the attack, the Pakistani Army has said there were no surgical attacks by India and that only cross-border fire had been initiated.



What is it? India’s unemployment rate in 2015-16 under the usual principal status approach (counts a person as employed if they spent more time within the labour force than out of it or seeking employment), according to a report by Labour Bureau.

Why is it important? This is the highest in five years. The unemployment rate for women was more than double than that for men: 8.7% (women) and 4.3% (men). This was worse in urban areas: unemployment rate for women was estimated to be 12.1% compared to 3.3% for men. For transgenders in urban areas, this rate was 10.3%. One of the main priorities of the NDA government is that of creating jobs. The number of jobs created in eight core sectors in 2015 was down by over two-thirds when compared to that in 2013.

Tell me more: About 77% of the households were said to have no regular wage or salaried person at the all-India level, as per the fifth employment-unemployment survey.


3 lakh

What is it? The number of train berths that go unutilised every year.

Why is it important? Indian Railways is addressing it. It has introduced the facility to transfer vacant berths (after the second chart is prepared at the train-originating station) to the subsequent stations where they may be waitlisted passengers. This would help those boarding at roadside stations (smaller intermediate stations on a route) to get confirmed berths.

Tell me more: The TTEs would be able to provide vacant berths after the train departure up to the next station only (where quota is available) and if nobody boards the train at the next station, this can be extended to the next quota station. This would help better utilisation of available berths at the time of departure and also, minimise the TTE’s discretion in berth allotments.



What is it? The number of cars that Uber is reportedly planning to buy and lease to its drivers over the next two years through its leasing unit, Xchange Leasing.

Why is it important? It will be one of the largest purchase by a single buyer in India. It will help Uber expand its driver pool even as it faces stiff competition from Ola. Ola already has a similar leasing arrangement for its drivers.

Tell me more: Uber has said the programme will help drivers who have been rejected by other lenders. However, the company has been criticized for looting its drivers through this arrangement, because of its terms and conditions.



What is it? The number of applicants for Udacity’s nine month Self-driving car engineer nanodegree program.

Why is it important? While online courses tend to get a lot of applications, in this case the available slots are just 250, and it costs $2,400. The high number of applications underscores the heavy demand for talent. Sebastian Thrun, who is often referred to as father of self driving cars, recently said there was a dearth of self driving car talent and it is valued at $10 million. Average salary for engineers is $138,000, according to

Tell me more: The first batch begins in October. For the second batch starting November, Udacity has increased the class strength to 1000. 126 people have applied so far.

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