A couple of months ago, Chris Urmson, the Chief Technology Officer of the autonomous driving program of Google X decided to step down from his position at Google's research and development division. Now, Urmson is one of the most renowned names in the self-driving industry and someone who's been involved with autonomous driving projects for over a decade, so this was a rather high-profile departure. Although rumors suggested his split with Google was caused by disagreements with the company's management, neither Urmson nor Google made any clarification on the matter. However, back then, the self-driving technology pioneer stated he'd be willing to return to the industry provided he finds another project he deems worthy of his time. Well, if latest reports are to be believed, Urmson managed to find one such endeavor.
More specifically, Recode reports that Urmson is currently working on his own self-driving company which he's planning to fund with the help of private investors. Sources claim that the industry expert may announce his next endeavor as early as next year. Furthermore, Urmson's company will allegedly develop both hardware and software for self-driving solutions with an intention to license its technology to automakers. While Google's former executive will obviously have to rely on private funding to kickstart his startup, sources report that the structure of his company still isn't set in stone. Furthermore, Urmson reportedly already approached several other industry experts currently working for the likes of Tesla, Uber, and Apple with the goal of winning them over to his cause. Of course, a non-solicitation agreement is likely preventing him from hiring some of his former colleagues at Google.
While no funding has yet been secured officially, one source told Recode that a renowned technologist like Urmson won't have any trouble with attracting investors given his brilliant track record. For the uninitiated, Urmson was the chief engineer tasked with developing Google's self-driving software. Not surprisingly, Urmson was approached by several autonomous driving companies shortly after his departure from Google, but the industry expert apparently decided he wants to do his own thing for once. All in all, it's going to be interesting to see whether Urmson will have enough time to develop another self-driving solution from scratch at a time when most tech giants are already planning commercialization of their existing inventions. We'll hopefully know more come next year.