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Chris Urmson, leader of Google’s self-driving car project, to step down

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The head of Google’s self-driving car team has bowed out of the project, according to a blog announcement posted by the engineer on Friday.

Chris Urmson, chief technology officer and former director of the self-driving car project, said he is leaving Google’s parent company Alphabet, Inc., and is “ready for a fresh challenge.”

Urmson has been with the project since its inception in 2009. He took over for lead Sebastian Thrun after his departure in 2013 and acted as project director until last year when auto-industry vet John Krafcik took over.

Urmson is the fifth long-time engineer to leave the project this year.

Urmson and the group at Alphabet have been working to develop a fully driverless vehicle. Urmson said that his goal is to completely remove human drivers altogether as human error is responsible for 94 percent of accidents.

“It has been a tremendous privilege and honor to be part of a team that has been at the forefront of bringing this life-saving technology to the world,” Urmson said in his blog post. “I have every confidence that the mission is in capable hands.”