Google Just Got Really Serious About Driverless Cars

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By Arjun Kharpal, CNBC

Google has appointed a former auto executive as its first CEO for its driverless cars division on Monday, in a sign the U.S. search giant is getting serious about bringing autonomous vehicles to market.

John Krafcik steps into the role, leaving his job as president of car price comparison website TrueCar. Krafcik is an auto-industry veteran with a previous role in product development at Ford, and as CEO of Hyundai Motors America, where he spent a decade of his career.

Read More from CNBC: Google Begins Testing Self-Driving Prototype Cars in Austin, Texas

Autonomous driving is becoming a hot topic for technology companies like Google and Apple, which is reportedly working on a project in the space. But traditional auto firms have been trying to defend themselves against tech companies encroaching on their space.

The hire hints at Google's seriousness about commercializing its autonomous car project and turning it into a fully-functioning business.

"This is a great opportunity to help Google develop the enormous potential of self-driving cars. I can't wait to get started," Krafcik said in a tweet on Monday.

It's unclear as of yet how driverless cars will progress but Google has previously said that it won't manufacture its own vehicles but instead looking to partner with other companies.

Read More from CNBC: Google's Self-Driving Car Prototypes Hit Public Roads for the First Time