Here's what Waymo's new leadership means for self-driving cars

Last week, Waymo CEO John Krafcik, a veteran of the automotive industry, stepped down and ceded his position to Dmitry Dolgov, an artificial intelligence veteran, and Tekedra Mawakana, a seasoned lawyer with longtime experience in tech policy.

The new faces of Waymo, which is one of the leading self-driving car companies, says a lot about the future of the driverless car industry. Until a few years ago, with the growing hype surrounding deep learning, the general belief was that self-driving cars were just around the corner. And getting to production-ready driverless cars was just a matter of collecting enough on-road data and training the right deep learning models.

But in 2021, it is clear that there are still many gaps to be filled, and in its current state, the AI industry is not ready to support driverless cars. A lot of gaps need to be filled in the technology, and the regulation must also evolve to meet the needs of this fast-developing sector.

This is why it makes sense to put a software engineer and a lawyer at the helm of the company. Dolgov and Mawakana are well-positioned to meet the many technical and legal challenges that lay ahead as Waymo and other self-driving car companies continue to plod on the bumpy road toward autonomous vehicles.

Read my full analysis of the reshuffling of Waymo’s leadership on TechTalks.

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