Ex-Hyundai CEO to Head Google's Self-Driving Car Program

Stephen Elmer
by Stephen Elmer
JOHN KRAFCIK

Google has hired former auto executive and ex-President of TrueCar, John Krafcik, to lead its self-driving car program.

Krafcik served as the CEO of Hyundai America from 2008 to 2013 and has many ties to the automotive industry around the world, an asset that should help Google build solid relationships with suppliers. This move shows the seriousness of Google’s plans to release a self-driving car, which the tech company wants to do by 2020.

“This is a great opportunity to help Google develop the enormous potential of self-driving cars,” Krafcik wrote in an email to 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.”

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Google is already testing its self-driving cars on public streets around its home office in Mountain View, California and in Austin, Texas. Its cars log roughly 10,000 miles a week in autonomous driving mode, with trained drivers sitting behind the wheel.

Krafcik being named CEO of the self-driving car project suggests that Google may make its automotive business a separate entity that will fall under the new Alphabet Inc. umbrella, a recently revealed holding company for Google.

Despite Krafcik’s background in production and manufacturing, Google still does not intend to build cars itself and instead will tap suppliers and likely other manufacturers to help with production. Its first prototype car was built by Roush Enterprises.

[Source: Automotive News]

Stephen Elmer
Stephen Elmer

Stephen covers all of the day-to-day events of the industry as the News Editor at AutoGuide, along with being the AG truck expert. His truck knowledge comes from working long days on the woodlot with pickups and driving straight trucks professionally. When not at his desk, Steve can be found playing his bass or riding his snowmobile or Sea-Doo. Find Stephen on <A title="@Selmer07 on Twitter" href="http://www.twitter.com/selmer07">Twitter</A> and <A title="Stephen on Google+" href="http://plus.google.com/117833131531784822251?rel=author">Google+</A>

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