Have questions, suggestions, or concerns?

Program Directors:

Mailing Address:

Siebel Scholars Foundation
1300 Seaport Blvd., Suite 400
Redwood City, CA 94063


(650) 299-5260

Google Self-driving Car Initiative Director, Chris Urmson Steps Down

ARTICLE BY: Adrienne Lafrance

The Atlantic

August 9th 2016

Siebel Scholar Chris Urmson (Carnegie Mellon CS, ’05) recently announced that he will be leaving Google’s self-driving car initiative.

The biggest question is: Was he poached? Uber, famously greedy for autonomous-car talent, has recently announced several expansions to its own self-driving car ambitions—including testing driverless vehicles on public roads in Pittsburgh, and a new mapping effort in Mexico. 

Urmson makes it seem like his next plans are uncertain: “If I can find another project that turns into an obsession and becomes something more, I will consider myself twice lucky.” But Silicon Valley’s tech giants are famously secretive, especially in the realm of driverless cars. It wouldn’t be shocking, for instance, if Urmson wound up at Apple.

“His departure is certainly a loss for the project,” Mark Bergen and Johanna Bhuiyan wrote for Recode. “Urmson was the main engineer who built the code running Google’s autonomous software, according to one person who worked with the team.”


Siebel Scholars can connect with Urmson by logging into our Community Website.