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Google’s Self-Driving Car Project Brings Top Airbnb Exec Onboard

In a move that’s presumably intended to pave the way for commercialization, Google’s (Alphabet’s) self-driving car project has brought a top Airbnb executive onboard, according to recent reports.

Shaun StewartThe new hire, Shaun Stewart, formerly led his earlier employer’s vacation rental team, and was formerly CEO at the travel firm Jetsetter (since acquired by TripAdvisor) as well, so one would guess that he’ll be working to put Google’s self-driving tech to use in some sort of commercial per-use/taxi application.

The move follows other changes at the company, including the departure of the 7-year-old project’s Chief Technical Officer and spokesperson, Chris Urmson, as well as the hire of the project’s first general counsel Kevin Vosen.

Previous to his departure, Urmson publicly predicted that the company’s self-driving tech would be production/market ready by 2020.

Reuters provides more on Shaun Stewart: “Stewart is an experienced technology executive specializing in building and scaling businesses … Stewart will report to Krafcik, whose recent hires include Kevin Vosen, the project’s first general counsel, and Tim Papandreou, a former San Francisco city official and expert in transportation policy. Over the past 12 months, Google has expanded to 4 cities, signed a collaboration with Fiat Chrysler Automobiles to double its fleet of autonomous vehicles, and opened an engineering tech center in Michigan.”

The company’s test-vehicle fleet currently numbers around 60 units. To date, 1.8 million miles have been driven autonomously by the firm’s self-driving test-vehicle fleet.

Image via LinkedIn

For more information on Google’s self-driving car program see:

Google & Chrysler Will Partner On Autonomous Driving Technologies

Riding In A Self-Driving Google Car.

Tesla & Google Disagree About LIDAR — Which Is Right?

Tesla Autopilot Outdistances Google Cars

Tesla Has The Right Approach To Self-Driving Cars

Tesla & Google Disagree About LIDAR — Which Is Right?

 

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Written By

James Ayre's background is predominantly in geopolitics and history, but he has an obsessive interest in pretty much everything. After an early life spent in the Imperial Free City of Dortmund, James followed the river Ruhr to Cofbuokheim, where he attended the University of Astnide. And where he also briefly considered entering the coal mining business. He currently writes for a living, on a broad variety of subjects, ranging from science, to politics, to military history, to renewable energy.

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