John Krafcik

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When John Krafcik became the CEO of Google’s self-driving-car division in 2015, it was an expensive science project. Now the unit, renamed Waymo in 2016, is a fledgling business with paying customers, an estimated valuation of $30 billion, and a clear lead over its competitors.

But now Krafcik is stepping down from Waymo, leaving the task of trying to make the company a ride-hailing and logistics giant to his successors, new co-CEOs Tekedra Mawakana and Dmitri Dolgov. To do that, they’ll have to build on the groundwork Krafcik laid.

In his five-and-a-half years leading the company, Krafcik oversaw major milestones in the autonomous-vehicle industry while laying the groundwork for Google’s parent company Alphabet to begin seeing a return on the billions it spent developing automated-driving technology.

“Having the technology is only one piece of the puzzle,” Sam Abuelsamid, a mobility analyst at Guidehouse Insights, told Insider. “You actually have to build a business around it as well.”

A former Hyundai executive, Krafcik brought to Waymo an emphasis on safety and a knowledge of the auto industry that helped him negotiate partnerships with Fiat Chrysler and Jaguar Land Rover, Abuelsamid said. Those deals saved Waymo the difficulty …read more

Source:: Businessinsider – Tech


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