Google Hires Ex Airbnb Executive Shaun Steward For Self-Driving Car Project

Google self-driving car prototype in AUSTIN, TX, for Paint the Town 1 photo
Photo: Google
Google has found a new high-profile employee for its self-driving car project, Shaun Stewart.
Mr. Stewart has not been involved in the automotive industry until this hire, as he was focused on the tech side of the hospitality segment.

In other words, Shaun Stewart was the CEO of Trip Advisor, and then moved on to a role at Airbnb, where he led the vacation rental division. As Tech Crunch notes, the hire or Steward is an interesting pick, but he has a clear role at Google.

Shaun Stewart will help the Mountain View giant with the commercialization of the autonomous car technology. Google has been working on this for seven years, and the last year of development has been intense, to say the least.

Google probably had enough capable employees within reach to handle this task, but it is evident that the company was looking for someone different to find a way to monetize the self-driving car project.

Stewart’s hire comes shortly after the departure of project lead Chris Urmson, but their career moves have nothing in common except for Google. We hate to be Captain Obvious here, but we have to underline that Shaun Stewart is not replacing Chris Urmson, so do not get the wrong idea with the previous phrase.

Mr. Stewart is specialized in the short-term rental-based service industry, which could be what Google was looking for its self-driving car division. With Stewart’s experience and Google’s finances and technology, the Mountain View corporation could start a car sharing empire, but with autonomous vehicles.

Think of it like an AirBnB for driverless cars, but everybody got the same kind of unit - an autonomous car. We are just speculating here, but we think that Google is also considering a way to let you rent out your self-driving car to others, when you are not using it, just like you can do to a spare room on the renowned website.

With Stewart’s experience in this field, Google could set up an On-demand ride-hailing service (think Uber) which would only bill you for your trip.
If you liked the article, please follow us:  Google News icon Google News Youtube Instagram
About the author: Sebastian Toma
Sebastian Toma profile photo

Sebastian's love for cars began at a young age. Little did he know that a career would emerge from this passion (and that it would not, sadly, involve being a professional racecar driver). In over fourteen years, he got behind the wheel of several hundred vehicles and in the offices of the most important car publications in his homeland.
Full profile


Would you like AUTOEVOLUTION to send you notifications?

You will only receive our top stories