Uber Loses Another Executive as Self-driving Program Head Quits

Matt Posky
by Matt Posky
uber loses another executive as self driving program head quits

Despite having put in as much testing time as most of the major players, experts have remained skeptical of Uber’s autonomous driving program. This isn’t because it lacks the necessary technology or hardware, but because it lacks a stable corporate environment. There have been no shortage of ugly headlines surrounding the company this year, and it’s beginning to hemorrhage essential staff members. This week, Uber lost its vice president of global vehicle programs, Sherif Marakby, and sustained another blow to its self-driving aspirations and pride.

While the ride-haling service has declined to elaborate on the reasons for Marakby’s exit, he had only been with the company since last April. After twenty-five years with Ford, Uber poached him specifically for his expertise in autonomous development and electronic safety systems.

This loss follows the departure of Uber’s president, vice president of product and growth, senior director of engineering, its head of communications, head of AI labs, and numerous members of its self-driving programs — all within the last few months.

“Self-driving is one of the most interesting challenges I’ve worked on in my career, and I’m grateful to have contributed to what will soon be a safer future for everyone,” Marakby said in a statement announcing his departure.

Uber didn’t give any additional information, though it told Automotive News that Marakby’s choice had nothing to do with the company’s ongoing lawsuit with Waymo. Of course, it isn’t as if that’s the only issue the company is facing. In addition to investigations into the alleged sexual misconduct of its employees, Uber has also faced negative publicity for how its team has handled its autonomous testing, the implementation of a tool designed to subvert government investigations, software that covertly tracks when its drivers use the Lyft app, and CEO Travis Kalanick’s exceptionally poor behavior.

The lawsuit drama, which returns to the courtroom next month, just happens to be the biggest elephant in a room that’s already full of them — and the one everyone seems most ready to talk about.

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  • Phila_DLJ Phila_DLJ on Apr 18, 2017

    New stock photo needed. That is not what the app looks like, nor is that phone (the 5S) on sale anymore.

  • Tylanner Tylanner on Apr 18, 2017

    The utility of ride sharing is obvious, the apps are awesome and the prospect of market domination is tempting, but in the end, competition will keep the revenue ceiling low and the mundanity of running a taxi company doesn't seem like a great use of someones technical talent. The tech exodus tells me that Uber self-driving tech is way behind the curve....

  • Art Vandelay Dodge should bring this back. They could sell it as the classic classic classic model
  • Surferjoe Still have a 2013 RDX, naturally aspirated V6, just can't get behind a 4 banger turbo.Also gloriously absent, ESS, lane departure warnings, etc.
  • ToolGuy Is it a genuine Top Hand? Oh, I forgot, I don't care. 🙂
  • ToolGuy I did truck things with my truck this past week, twenty-odd miles from home (farther than usual). Recall that the interior bed space of my (modified) truck is 98" x 74". On the ride home yesterday the bed carried a 20 foot extension ladder (10 feet long, flagged 14 inches past the rear bumper), two other ladders, a smallish air compressor, a largish shop vac, three large bins, some materials, some scrap, and a slew of tool cases/bags. It was pretty full, is what I'm saying.The range of the Cybertruck would have been just fine. Nothing I carried had any substantial weight to it, in truck terms. The frunk would have been extremely useful (lock the tool cases there, out of the way of the Bed Stuff, away from prying eyes and grasping fingers -- you say I can charge my cordless tools there? bonus). Stainless steel plus no paint is a plus.Apparently the Cybertruck bed will be 78" long (but over 96" with the tailgate folded down) and 60-65" wide. And then Tesla promises "100 cubic feet of exterior, lockable storage — including the under-bed, frunk and sail pillars." Underbed storage requires the bed to be clear of other stuff, but bottom line everything would have fit, especially when we consider the second row of seats (tools and some materials out of the weather).Some days I was hauling mostly air on one leg of the trip. There were several store runs involved, some for 8-foot stock. One day I bummed a ride in a Roush Mustang. Three separate times other drivers tried to run into my truck (stainless steel panels, yes please). The fuel savings would be large enough for me to notice and to care.TL;DR: This truck would work for me, as a truck. Sample size = 1.
  • Ed That has to be a joke.