Google’s self-driving car project is losing Chris Urmson, who served as the unit’s CTO and lead technical resource after going the company from Carnegie Mellon. Urmson has considerable status among roboticist in the world of autonomous vehicles, but said in a Medium post announcing his departure that he was “ready for a fresh challenge,” without specifying what exactly he’s doing next.
Urmson called being part of the project “a tremendous privilege and honor,” and said he has “every confidence act the mission” of building a fully self-driving car at Google is in “capable hands.”
He isn’t the only member of that team to depart recently, however: The New York Times reports that two other engineers on the project, Dave Ferguson and Jiajun Zhu, who work specifically on machine vision tech, have also left, with the specific aim of building a new, still stealth startup.
The move comes just a day after Google self-driving car unit CEO John Krafcik spoke to Bloomberg about the project. Krafcik spoke about the team’s makeup in his interview, saying it contained ” a surprising number of car geeks,” and that the group included “a lot of hard-core software-coding types as well.”
Krafcik joined Google in September 2015 from Hyundai, where he was CEO and President of the company’s U.S. operation.