Not that there was any doubt before today, but Uber is really super serious about getting its figurative hands on automated vehicles. The company's ride-hailing service is already making billions all around the globe and all of the most common complaints users have on it are in some way related to its drivers. So, the next logical thing for Uber is to get rid of the people operating its vehicles, right? Maybe, maybe not, but regardless of that, that's exactly what the company has been trying to do for quite some time now. Reports from about a year ago suggested that Uber is pretty close to manufacturing driverless cars and although nothing's come out of that yet, another big statement of intent regarding self-driving vehicles was made by the American company today.
Specifically, Uber poached Ford's director of global electronics and engineering Sherif Marakby who will now work as the vice president of its global vehicle programs. Marakby is also moving to Pittsburgh, i.e. Uber's Advanced Technologies Center where he'll oversee "manufacturer strategy and integration efforts," as revealed by the company's spokesperson. Sure, that doesn't specifically say he'll be involved in manufacturing and integration of autonomous cars into Uber's services, but then again, Uber hasn't even clearly stated its intentions with the self-driving technology despite a lot of things suggesting that it has invested quite heavily in it, and that has been the case for years. For example, reports from last month suggested that the company was just shopping for cars which don't require human drivers. The department which Marakby is joining is headed by one Brian McClendon, former VP at Google who used to lead its mapping division.
The department which Marakby is joining is headed by one Brian McClendon, former VP at Google who used to lead its mapping division. In a short statement, McClendon said that he's extremely excited to have a "world expert" on self-driving tech on the team while Marakby expressed a similar degree of enthusiasm in his very own statement. As one of the numerous reasons for deciding to jump ship from the traditional auto industry to a company like Uber, Marakby stated that the latter and the industry which it's a part of is one driven by safety. After pointing out that car accidents are the most common cause of death among young Americans, he explained that "self-driving technology can help prevent these tragedies as well as improve the quality of life in cities."