John Krafcik is set to become the CEO of the Google Self-Driving Car Project later this month, Google announced today. Krafcik is no stranger to the automotive business, starting his career in 1984 with stints at Ford and as the President and CEO of Hyundai.
“This is a great opportunity to help Google develop the enormous potential of self-driving cars,” Krafcik said in a statement. “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.”
Krafcik joins Chris Urmson, technical leader of the Google Self-Driving Car Project, as well as others for continued development and execution of autonomous cars.
With several years of testing complete, Google claims their prototypes have traveled more than 1 million autonomous miles on public roads. The prototypes have had to adapt to various road conditions including traffic, pedestrians, cyclists, and more. Currently, Google self-driving cars are traveling 10,000 miles a week in Mountain View, Calif., and Austin, Texas. Google plans to build a self-driving vehicle that can travel from point A to point B with the push of a button.
Krafcik, who earned a degree in mechanical engineering from Stanford and a Master’s degree in Management from the Sloan School of Management, began his automotive career in 1984 as an engineer at NUMMI. From 1990 to 2004, Krafcik held several positions at Ford including Chief Engineer for the Ford Expedition and Lincoln Navigator. He also spent 10 years in leadership positions at Hyundai including five years as president and CEO. Before taking the job at Google, Krafcik was the CEO of TrueCar.