Chris Urmson has been involved in the project for seven and a half years when the project was just launched. He has been the public face of Google’s autonomous vehicle efforts and testified before a US Senate panel on autonomous cars in March.
Writing in his bog, Urmson said he was “ready for a fresh challenge” and was not sure what he would do next.
Urmson said he expected self-driving cars to still arrive and over the years he had gone from hoping this would happen, to thinking it might happen, to knowing it will happen.
But Google’s project has had other significant departures, even as it has hired dozens of new employees. Earlier this year, Anthony Levandowski, who was product manager for Google’s self-driving car program, left the project to co-found a startup with two other former Google employees.
What might be causing the problem is that Google’s self-driving car project is expected to become a standalone company this year and has even hired its first lawyer. The program is now part of its X research laboratory unit.