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Google Builds Up Self-Driving Cars Team Ahead Of Moonshot Graduation

Sam Pudwell joined Silicon UK as a reporter in December 2016. As well as being the resident Cloud aficionado, he covers areas such as cyber security, government IT and sports technology, with the aim of going to as many events as possible.

Alphabet is advertising for a head of real estate to establish a new base for its autonomous project when it graduates from Moonshot.

Alphabet is hiring executives for its self-driving cars team as it prepares to spin off the project from its Moonshot division.

Speaking at the Nikkei Innovation Forum in Palo Alto in October, project lead John Krafcik – former CEO and president of Hyundai – confirmed that the spin off would happen “soon” and some recent executive hirings suggest the move is getting closer.

google-driverless-car

Caution: Spin off ahead

For example, the group hired its first legal chief over the summer in the form of Kevin Vosen, who previously held the position of chief legal officer with The Climate Corporation. Now, Alphabet is advertising for a head of real estate to establish a new base for the self-driving project when it graduates from Moonshot.

The job listing says: “Our path forward includes significant growth in both team size and geographical footprint. Now we [sic] searching for a Head of Real Estate and Workplace Services to help usher our project into this next chapter.”

The successful candidate will be required to “use the workspace and amenities skillfully (e.g. food, fitness) to add to the ‘top line’ of the business by attracting and retaining talent, while maintaining efficient spend on the ‘bottom line’ operational expenditure and operational expenditure costs.”

Although the listing itself is somewhat vague, the fact that Alphabet is on the hunt for a new home for the team is a clear indication that the project is poised for some significant growth as it looks to break away from its parent company.

The only bad news for the company is that Chris Urmson, Google’s former self-driving car specialist, recently announced that he will be leaving the company to start his own autonomous vehicles venture.

“If I can find another project that turns into an obsession and becomes something more, I will consider myself twice lucky,” he said. Given his strong reputation within the community, it wouldn’t be a surprise to see him give Google a real run for its money.

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