Google Hires Krafcik To Head Autonomous Vehicle Program
Former Hyundai America CEO and TrueCar president John Krafcik has been hired by Google to head the California tech giant’s autonomous vehicle program.
Per Automotive News, Krafcik will begin his new work as the program’s director in late September, while current director and former Carnegie Mellon University robotics researcher Chris Urmson will remain aboard to lead technical development.
Google representative Courtney Hohne said the autonomous technology is still in the early stages of development, with Krafcik’s hiring meant to help the program prepare for the future. Though Google nor parent company Alphabet have plans to make autonomous vehicles, the hiring move would allow the tech company to partner “with many different companies to bring this technology into the world safely.”
Krafcik’s move to Google comes on the heels of his departure from TrueCar, who was brought aboard by founder and CEO Scott Painter in 2014 to help turn around the car-shopping service’s fortunes, fortunes which have turned for the worse once more amid lawsuits by dealers over the company’s business practices. Painter himself announced last month under poor Q2 2015 news he would resign as CEO.
Whether Krafcik was in the running to replace Painter is unknown at the moment, but the former president said he was looking forward to his new position with Google:
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.
Photo credit: Hyundai