Google's self-driving car
project hit a rough patch with the departure
of one of its earliest team members, but it's evident that the tech giant is still bent on turning the experiment into a viable business
. The company has hired
Airbnb executive Shaun Stewart, who led his former employer's vacation rental team, as a director for its autonomous vehicle
group. He'll focus on commercializing the division – just what that entails isn't clear, but previous rumors
(and industry expectations) suggest that he may translate Google's self-driving technology into a robotic ride-for-hire service.
Stewart may be a particularly good fit. As our TechCrunch
, his expertise revolves around short-term travel rentals. Before Airbnb, he was the CEO of the luxury vacation deal site Jetsetter – he knows a thing or two about getting these services off the ground. And that's important when the concept of a driverless taxi is still brand new
, with plenty of nuts-and-bolts details that need to be pinned down in the years ahead.
This article by Jon Fingas originally ran on Engadget, the definitive guide to this connected life.