Uber Self-Driving Car Boss Sherif Marakby Is Quitting
One of the executives that helped launch Uber's self-driving car program is leaving the company.
Over the past few months, Uber has been racked by scandals and the departures of high-profile executives. Now, it's losing one more big name: Sherif Marakby, vice president of global vehicle programs.
Marakby was one of the main forces behind Uber's self-driving car program. He joined Uber in April 2016 after 25 years at Ford, where served as global director of electronics and engineering before making the transition to Uber. A source close to the matter told Automotive News that Marakby "will be taking a break" before making his next move.
"Self-driving is one of the most interesting challenges I've worked on in my career, and I'm grateful to have contributed to what will soon be a safer future for everyone," Marakby said in a statement confirming his departure from Uber. He did not say why he was leaving.
Uber is currently fighting a lawsuit from Waymo, which alleges the ride-sharing company benefitted from stolen autonomous-car tech. Waymo, the former Google self-driving car project, claims one of its former employees, Anthony Levandowski, stole 14,000 files and used the information to form a startup, Otto, which was later purchased by Uber. Levandowski was given a prominent position in Uber's self-driving car program after the purchase. Uber told Automotive News that Marakby's departure was not related to the lawsuit.
Uber is currently testing self-driving cars in Pittsburgh, San Francisco, and Tempe, Arizona. The program was temporarily halted last month after one of Uber's Volvo XC90 autonomous prototypes was involved in a collision with another vehicle. Self-driving cars were back on the road days later, but the incident did not help the technology's image.
Marakby's departure is the latest in something of a mass Uber executive exodus. Over the past three months, president Jeff Jones, head of communications Rachel Whetstone, and Gary Marcus, head of Uber's AI Labs, have all stepped down.