Krafcik is Google’s first major hire from the auto industry, arriving as the company grows more ambitious with its ventures in the field. Keeping Urmson onboard means Krafcik can work on turning the division into a separate business, while Urmson can focus on continually improving the technology underpinning the cars. Last month TrueCar CEO Scott Painter resigned after disappointing second-quarter earnings sparked a drastic drop in the company’s stock price.
This was underlined by Google spokeswoman Courtney Hohne telling the site that while it is “still early days”, the move was about “getting ourselves ready for the future”. “John’s combination of technical expertise and auto-industry experience will be particularly valuable as we collaborate with many different partners to achieve our goals”. From Hyundai, Krafcik took the reigns as President of TrueCar, an online tool for accurate vehicle pricing.
Krafcik’s roots in the Bay Area auto industry run deep. He has also previously had top spots at both Hyundai and Ford. Krafcik is also known for leading Hyundai to record-breaking sales in the United States. “This know-how can save hundreds of lives, give tens of millions of individuals higher mobility and free us from loads of the issues we discover irritating about driving as we speak”.
Though while speaking with AutomotiveNews, a spokesperson said Krafcik’s hiring is no indication that Google is preparing to produce cars themselves. There have been a reported 11 cases of accidents involving the cars, all of which Google claims were down to human error. The self-driving vehicle program will fall under Google X. Right now, our engineers are trying to figure out [.] how to make a auto genuinely drive itself.
Autonomous driving is becoming a hot topic for technology companies like Google and Apple, which is reportedly working on a project in the space. Google said it worked with Roush, RCO, ZF Lenksysteme, Continental, Bosch, Frimo, LG Electronics, Prefix and others to build about 150 fully autonomous vehicle prototypes – with Roush assembling them in Livonia.