The face of the Google self-driving car effort has left the project at a crucial juncture as the company tries to transition its driverless-car technology into a commercial product.
Chris Urmson, the project’s chief technology officer and former director, said in a blog post Friday that he was leaving Google parent Alphabet Inc. and was “ready for a fresh challenge.” He gave no clear reason for his departure nor hint of his destination.
A company spokesman said in an email that when Google’s self-driving car project began seven years ago, “the idea that a car could drive itself wasn’t much more than an idea. Chris has been a vital force for the project, helping the team move from a research phase to a point where this life-saving technology will soon become a reality. He departs with our warmest wishes.”