Google has shown it’s serious about its autonomous vehicles business after the company announced it is hiring an auto industry veteran to run its self-driving project.
The person in question is John Krafcik, former head of Hyundai’s American operation, and most recently the president of TrueCar.
TrueCar is a service which analyses prices of used cars and takes the stress out of negotiating with car dealers. He’ll join Google later this month as CEO of the self-driving car project, the company said Sunday night. Chris Urmson, the current head of the team, will stay on as the technical leader.
“John’s combination of technical expertise and auto industry experience will be particularly valuable as we collaborate with many different partners to achieve our goal of transforming mobility for millions of people,” Google said in a statement. “This is about getting ourselves ready for the future, so we can bring this technology to its full potential.”
Google has a goal of bringing the driverless cars out on the streets by 2020, and so far it’s making good progress – good enough to keep the date on track.
According to a report by Wired, the company’s autonomous vehicles—25 Lexus SUVs and five prototypes with no steering wheel or pedals—are covering 10,000 miles a week on public roads in Mountain View and Austin.
However, it seems unlikely Google will produce the cars itself – the entry price is too high and the profit margins too low – it’s more realistic it will develop a system that can be used by other companies.