Google Hires New Self-Driving Car Chief

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Former Hyundai US CEO John Krafcik will join Google later this month

Google has appointed John Krafick as the new head of its automotive division, accelerating plans for a push into the self-driving car market.

Krafick, who studied mechanical engineering at Stanford University and business at Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT), is currently president of the car pricing website TrueCar and was previously been president and CEO of Hyundai’s American business.

Opportunity

google“This is a great opportunity to help Google develop the enormous potential of self-driving cars,” Krafcik told Automotive News. “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.”

However despite hiring of such an experienced auto industry veteran, Google was keen to play down any particular inferences of Krafcik’s prior knowledge within manufacturing.

“We’re not going to make cars ourselves,” said Google spokeswoman Courtney Hohne. “We know what we’re good at, and we’ll partner with many different companies to bring this technology into the world safely.

“This is about getting ourselves ready for the future.”

Google revealed earlier this year that is ready to take testing of its self-driving cars to the next level by unleashing them on public roads.

The search giant says it has a “few” models ready to embark on the next phase of testing, which will be limited to 25mph and feature removable steering wheels, accelerator and brake pedals to ensure the drivers can also gain control if needed.

This is despite revealing that its prototype vehicles have been involved in 11 accidents over the last six years of testing – although all of these were the result of errors by other (human) drivers.

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