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Startups are poaching self-driving engineers

A number of prominent engineers in the self-driving space have left firms such as Uber, Google and Tesla to work for startups or launch their own companies. One example is Peter Rander, who left Uber. Along with other ex-Uber and Google engineers, he started, which is now majority owned by Ford.

As competition in the self-driving industry gets steeper, top talent from existing and established players are increasingly jumping ship to start or join fresh-faced autonomous tech startups hungry for a piece of the pie.

Engineers skilled and experienced in the field of autonomous technology are hard to come by so it’s no surprise companies like Ford, General Motors, and Uber are willing to pay top dollar to scoop them up through lofty acquisitions. And these engineers are jumping at the opportunity.

Uber has lost around 20 of its top self-driving engineers in the months since August 2016. However, Uber has also benefited from self-driving defections. The company’s now head of autonomous efforts Anthony Levandowski left Google’s self-driving arm in January of 2016.

Google’s self-driving arm, now called Waymo, also lost its CTO Chris Urmson late last year. Urmson went on to found autonomous tech startup Aurora. Urmson has since poached engineers away from Uber and Tesla.

From Tesla, Urmson has lured away the company’s head of Autopilot Sterling Anderson, who allegedly attempted to recruit talent away from his former employer. In short order, the electrical vehicle manufacturer filed a lawsuit against Aurora claiming the company attempted to poach its engineers.

Source: Recode (30/03/2017)

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