Recently, it was reported that a number of executives have left Alphabet's Self-Driving Car Project, including the guy that started the whole thing at Google (at the time, before Alphabet was formed). However, the company has just found someone new to head up the Self-Driving Car Project, and it's Shaun Stewart. He's the former CEO of Tripadvisor, and most recently he was the head of Airbnb's vacation rental business. Stewart's hiring is a pretty interesting one, given his former roles. However he will be joining the former Hyundai Motor America CEO, John Krafcik who is now the CEO of Self-Driving Car Project at Alphabet.
As you can imagine, Krafcik and Stewart bring very different talent and expertise to the table. However, they do have the know how of commercializing vehicles and services at scale. This is something that former project lead Chris Urmson did not have. Urmson left the project earlier this month. Bringing Stewart on board means that Alphabet is likely looking to create their own Uber or Lyft competitor using their self-driving vehicles. Seeing as Stewart's experience as an executive has been focused on short-term rental-based devices. Which is exactly what an on-demand hailing service would need to be successful.
With Urmson and a number of other key executives leaving Alphabet's Self-Driving Car Project recently, many wondered what the future of this project would really be. It now looks to be heading in an entirely new direction, although the end goal is likely still the same. Which is for Alphabet's self-driving cars to be on the road as taxi's, to rival Uber who is already putting self-driving cars on the road and picking up passengers. Lyft is said to have their own self-driving cars out fairly soon as well, thanks to their partnership with General Motors. Alphabet has been working on self-driving cars for quite a few years, and recently struck a deal with Fiat Chrysler Automobiles, which is set to bring 100 Chrysler Pacifica's to Alphabet for using in their project. Which Alphabet wants to use as on-demand vehicles for transporting passengers from point A to point B.