At least a dozen senior members of the Google autonomous car team have departed in the past year, most of them to Uber and to a self-driving car startup that’s right next door to Google’s campus in Mountain View. (Scroll down for the list.) The unit, which Alphabet said on Tuesday would become its own division called “Waymo,” is racing to develop a robo taxi service after scaling back its vision for self-driving car hardware, as we reported on Monday.
The changes reflect how for a long time, Google’s Chauffeur car team was the only game in town when it came to developing fully self-driving cars. That changed in recent years as traditional car companies, Tesla Motors and Uber joined the fray, with many billions of dollars to throw at the colossal engineering problem and plenty more for acquisitions of nascent startups in the field.