Time.news – The CEO of the Google spinoff dedicated to the development of self-driving cars has resigned. John Krafcik decided to leave Waymo after five years, which he has led since his separation from parent company Alphabet. This was announced by Krafcik himself in a blogpost on the company’s official website. “I need a moment to recharge, reconnect with old friends and family, discover new parts of the world,” wrote the 59-year-old manager in his farewell message to the company.
He will be replaced by his two lieutenants who have so far joined him at the helm of Waymo: Dmitri Dolgov, who has worked on self-driving cars since Waymo started at Google in 2009, will focus on technology for autonomous vehicles; and Tekedra Mawakana, a lawyer formerly Waymo’s chief operating officer, who will handle the business side. Krafcik will remain a consultant to Waymo, a company that has established itself as a leader in autonomous driving since Google gave him the lead in 2015.
Under Krafcik’s leadership, Waymo forged partnerships with several major car manufacturers and launched the first ride-hailing service, i.e. rides like taxis, but without a driver. That service, called Waymo One, only operates in the Phoenix metropolitan area. But Waymo plans to expand into other markets, confident that the company will develop a technology that can radically transform the automotive industry.
According to analysts, the company is now worth around 30 billion dollars, a valuation achieved following two investment rounds for a total of 3.5 billion. A sizeable figure, but less than the $ 175 billion Morgan Stanley estimated in 2018, fluctuating mainly due to the difficulties faced by companies in developing self-driving car technology capable of scaling the traditional car market.