Google’s determination to build a self-driving car as soon as possible is highlighted with its advertisements for nearly 40 positions, many of them related to manufacturing. The search giant is expanding its self-driving division rapidly and is hiring more people with automotive industry expertise. According to Reuters, the operation now employs at least 170 workers, with many being software and systems engineers and some coming from other departments at the search giant.
Google hires veterans for its self-driving car team
Reuters, which reviewed profiles on LinkedIn, noted that more than 40 of the employees have automotive industry experience and skills ranging from interior design to manufacturing. Also some of the employees came from big auto names like Tesla, Ford and General Motors.
John Krafcik, an industry veteran who previously headed Hyundai’s U.S operations and is an expert in product development and manufacturing, joined Google in September and is now assembling the self-driving car team. Paul Luskin, president of Ricardo Defense Systems, was hired last month as operations manager. Sameer Kshisagar, who previously worked for GM, joined Google’s self-driving car team as the head of global supply management. Andy Warburton, who worked for Tesla, was hired to head the vehicle engineering team.
Also there are employees from beyond the auto industry, such as aerospace (Boeing, SpaceX, Jet Propulsion Lab) and electronics (Intel, Samsung, Motorola).
Race to build self-driving vehicle
Previously, Google said it may not manufacture self-driving cars itself and would focus on the technology for a marketable self-driving car by 2020. Automotive experts believe the tech giant could contract out manufacturing like Apple does with the iPhone or license its technology to existing car manufacturers.
Paul Mascarenas, a former Ford executive and president of FISITA, the International Federation of Engineering Societies, said that hiring employees with manufacturing skills could help the search giant find and cooperate with a partner to build a vehicle. Several experts believe the tech giant might choose to partner with a Chinese automaker or an Asian contractor such as Foxconn after building its own engineering and design prototypes.
Not only Google but electric car maker Tesla is also in the race to build a self-driving vehicle. Established car makers such as Daimler and GM and technology companies such as Apple and Uber are also participating in the competition to build an autonomous car.