Urmson (right) shows a Google self-driving car to US Transportation Secretary Anthony Foxx (far left) and Google Chairman Eric Schmidt at Google headquarters last year.

Chris Urmson (right) shows a Google self-driving car to US Transportation Secretary Anthony Foxx (far left) and Google Chairman Eric Schmidt at Google headquarters last year. Urmson has announced his departure from the project.


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Google’s self-driving car project is losing its CTO, and two other key employees are reportedly also leaving.

Chris Urmson, the project’s chief technical officer, announced his departure on Medium on Friday.

“After leading our cars through the human equivalent of 150 years of driving and helping our project make the leap from pure research to developing a product that we hope someday anyone will be able to use, I am ready for a fresh challenge,” Urmson wrote, without giving specifics about his future plans.

Additionally, two software leads on the project, Jiajun Zhu and Dave Ferguson, have left, according to The New York Times. Google parent Alphabet didn’t immediately respond to a request for confirmation on those departures.

Regarding Urmson, Alphabet said in a statement provided to various media outlets that “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. He departs with our warmest wishes.”

And John Krafcik, CEO of the self-driving-car project, wished Urmson well in a tweet, saying, “Chris is an incredible colleague & leader. Thank you for your passion & humility. Good luck on your new adventures!”

Alphabet plans to spin off the self-driving car project into a separate company. It’s currently a part of Alphabet’s research lab, X.

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CTO of Google's self-driving car project is hittin' the road – CNET