Google Hires Longtime Car Exec to Head Up Its Driverless Car Division
Thanks to Google, the space between Silicon Valley and Detroit continues to shrink.
The search giant has made yet another step in its dedication to automotive innovation with a prominent hire. Former Ford and Hyundai executive John Krafcik tweeted Monday morning that he is going to Google’s self-driving car project at the end of September.
“This is a great opportunity to help Google develop the enormous potential of self-driving cars,” Krafcik tweeted out. “Self-driving cars could save 1000s of lives, give people greater mobility and free us from things we find frustrating about driving today.”
Krafcik is currently the president of TrueCar, an online car-shopping platform. Prior to this stint, Krafcik worked at Hyundai for nearly a decade and for half of that time he was the president of Hyundai’s U.S. business. Before Hyundai, Krafcik worked in product development at Ford for almost 15 years.
Google says Krafcik’s experience in the auto industry will help the tech giant collaborate with car companies in coming years.
“Over the last few years, we’ve made more progress with our self-driving car technology than we ever thought possible,” Google says in an email to Entrepreneur. “We’re feeling good about our progress, so now we’re investing in building out a team that can help us bring this technology to its full potential in the coming years.”
Related: How BlaBlaCar Is Different From Uber
Currently, self-driving cars are traveling about 10,000 miles per week in both Austin and Google’s headquarters in Mountain View, Calif. All total, Google’s self-driving cars have navigated more than 1 million miles.
Google’s driverless car operations are housed in its X research lab, but the tech giant said that the autonomous car unit is “certainly a good candidate” to become its own corporate entity in the future.
Catherine Clifford is senior entrepreneurship writer at CNBC. She was formerly a senior writer at Entrepreneur.com, the small business reporter at CNNMoney and an assistant in the New York bureau for CNN. Clifford attended Columbia University where she earned a bachelor's degree. She lives in Brooklyn, N.Y. You can follow her on Twitter at @CatClifford.