Waymo CFO is Leaving the Company Following the Departure of CEO John Krafcik Last Month
The Chief Financial Officer of Alphabet's autonomous driving unit Waymo is leaving the company, following the unexpected departure of CEO John Krafcik last month. Waymo confirmed to Reuters on Wednesday that CFO Ger Dwyer is departing.
Also leaving is Chief Automotive Office Adam Frost, who first began working on Google's self-driving car project in 2013, initially serving as Chief Engineer for Advanced Concepts & Programs.
Dwyer, who joined Waymo in Aug 2016, was responsible for leading all finance related activities for the company, while Frost was responsible for Waymo's strategic automotive partnerships and corporate development.
The departures of Dwyer and Frost come just weeks after the exit of CEO John Krafcik, who was replaced by two co-executives. Krafcik served as CEO of Waymo for over five and a half years before announcing in early April that he's stepping down from his role.
Krafcik, a long-time auto industry executive, was tapped to head Waymo in Sept 2015. He was replaced by current Waymo CTO Dmitri Dolgov and COO Tekedra Mawakana. The two are now leading the company as co-CEOs.
Waymo spun out of Google's early self-driving car project and is widely viewed as the global leading developer of self-driving technology in the industry. However, like many autonomous driving startups, Waymo does not currently generate any significant income.
Waymo is planning to launch an autonomous ride-hailing service in U.S. cities called Waymo One, that works like Uber. The company has been testing the service in Chandler, Arizona for the past several years and started picking up passengers in Oct 2020. The company is using a fleet of Chrysler Pacifica minivans and Jaguar I Pace SUVs outfitted with sensors and other hardware for autonomous driving.
Some of Waymo's self-driving vehicles are already picking up passengers with no safety drivers behind the wheel.
Before launching the Waymo One service, Waymo was testing and perfecting its autonomous driving software using a fleet of self-driving development vehicles. Over the past decade, Waymo's fleet of self-driving vehicles has driven over 20 million miles on public roads in the U.S.
Waymo is also working on self-driving trucks for highway freight delivery. Its logistics business is called Waymo Via.
As an industry leader, Waymo also shares the data it collects from its fleet to help other companies working on autonomous driving technology. The data Waymo collects is used to train machine learning models for object detection, identification, localization and behavior prediction, all of which are performed by an autonomous vehicle's software for safe navigation.
In March, Waymo updated its "Open Dataset" that's available to third parties. The Open Dataset now includes a "motion dataset", which is the largest interactive data set ever released for research, the company claims. The data includes behavior prediction and motion forecasting for autonomous driving.
The company aims to launch the Waymo One service next in San Francisco. But the state of California where Waymo is headquartered doesn't allow operators of autonomous test vehicles to collect fares from the public, leaving Waymo unable to start generating revenue on its own. However the company is still also exploring ways to license its autonomous driving technology.
Waymo has developed an entire autonomous driving software stack called the Waymo Driver, that can be added to production vehicles. But the departure of three key executives since last month indicates that Waymo is finding it difficult to commercialize its self-driving technology.
Chief Automotive Office Frost led the team that defined how the Waymo Driver will be deployed across future vehicle programs.
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