Google has hired its first chief executive for its self-driving car project. The division will be under the supervision of ex-Hyundai CEO John Krafcik, a 25 year industry veteran. Krafcik takes over the lead role from Chris Urmson, who is moving over to a technical director on the project.
Krafcik has plenty of experience in the automotive industry. He us currently president of TrueCar, an online platform for automobile purchases, was CEO of Hyundai Motor America for five years, and worked in product development at Ford for 14 years before that.
“This is a great opportunity to help Google develop the enormous potential of self-driving cars … This technology can save thousands of lives, give millions of people greater mobility, and free us from a lot of the things we find frustrating about driving today. I can’t wait to get started.” – John Krafcik
Google appears to be stepping up its self-driving car and Android Auto initiative. However, it is interesting to note that, despite now having its own CEO, the self-driving car project will remain under Google’s X labs for now, rather than becoming its own company under the new Alphabet umbrella. Although Google says that it is “a good candidate to become one at some point in the future.”
Google has been testing its self-driving cars in a few locations across the US over the past few months. The company also ordered additional prototypes just last week, suggesting that it is preparing to ramp up testing next year. Google has previously stated that it won’t be producing any vehicles itself, but will instead be looking to partner up with other manufacturers.