Google has put a new driver behind the wheel of its self-driving car experiment, as announced on Sunday. The company has welcomed John Krafcik, a Stanford-educated engineer who’s been holding various management and engineering positions in the auto industry, as the next chief executive of Google’s autonomous vehicle initiative.
Working with major carmakers – such as Ford and Hyundai – Mr. Krafcik has acquired plenty of experience that made him the perfect candidate for Google’s current needs. He is a valuable addition to the team inside “Google X” research division, helping them graduate the expensive engineering project to a game-changer for how people commute.
Mr. Krafcik called his new job at Google a “great opportunity,” hoping to capitalize the company’s p enormous potential of developing self-driving cars. In an email interview, he expressed faith in the technology that has the potential to cut off a lot of the frustrating things that come with driving today.
More than anything, Mr. Krafcik said self-driving cars could make the roads a safer place, saving thousands of human lives while also giving them a greater travelling mobility. “I can’t wait to get started,” he added enthusiastically.
Google’s project is rather advanced, as its self-driving cars have already passed the milestone of one-million miles travelled on the road with supervising operators behind the wheel. A new bubble-shaped prototype has been seen cruising down the streets of Google’s hometown, Mountain View, California. Sightings of another car version, a modified Lexus, were also spotted in Austin, Texas.
A Google spokesperson wrote a statement saying that the company is still testing out to see what people think about the self-driving vehicles, whether they would want to incorporate this technology into their lives.
That’s why the tech firm intends on running pilot programs with the prototypes sometime in the future; until that, the vehicles are roving in Mountain View and Austin, 10,000 miles each week.
Even though Mr. Krafcik’s hiring has come right in the middle of Google’s revamping under the Alphabet logo, the self-driving car project will be mostly unaffected. The reorganization will see most of Google’s core businesses turning into standalones, but a recent press release mentioned that the Google X lab won’t let go of the project – at least, not just yet.
The release mentioned, however, the possibility that the technology will eventually become an Alphabet company, but it needs to “reach its full potential first.”
Image Source: New York Times
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