Chris Urmson quits as Google's self-driving car division
Google's Chief Technology Officer for its self-driving car unit, Chris Urmson, announced his exit from the technology company in an online post. After almost seven and a half years with Google, Urmson said he would be leaving to pursue and chase new challenges, although he did not provide further details. Under Urmson's lead, Google has clocked over 1.8 million miles of autonomous vehicle testing.
Google is one of the world's largest internet and software services company that dabbles with cloud computing, search engine, and advertising and marketing. It was founded in 1998 out of a garage in California, by two Stanford students Larry Page and Sergey Brin. With a host of diverse multiple products, Google now runs over a million data servers across numerous data centers.
What are self-driving cars?
Self-driving cars or autonomous vehicles refer to those vehicles that do not require any human intervention or inputs. They guide themselves with the aid of navigation, GPS and robotic technology, amongst other computer-enabled features.
Chris Urmson is touted to be one of the world's leading roboticist in the autonomous vehicles space. Urmson graduated from Carnegie Mellon University and joined SAIC as a Research Scientist for their Robotics division in 2005, but later moved to Carnegie's Tartan Racing as the Technology Director. After finishing his PhD in 2009, Urmson joined Google to lead its self-driving car unit as CTO.
Chris Urmson's ideas to revolutionize autonomous vehicles
"Chris has been a vital force for the project, helping the team move from a research phase to a point where this life-saving technology will soon become a reality," Johnny Luu, spokesman for Google's self-driving car unit said.
Other exits from Google's self-driving car unit
It was reported that Jiajun Zhu, Google's self-driving car unit's team's principal software engineer who was also one of its founders, left the company and launched a start-up. Another engineer Dave Ferguson, an expert in machine vision technology, also left Google to explore other opportunities. Anthony Levandowski, one of the project's founders left this year and launched his autonomous trucking start-up, Otto.