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"Google reached out to me in March 2015 with an intriguing opportunity to lead a small project working on autonomous vehicles. The technology seemed a promising way to improve road safety, something I'd been focused on in my prior work in the automotive industry," Krafcik said in a LinkdIn post.

During that period, Google was uniquely positioned as a company making breakthroughs in both artificial intelligence and vehicle autonomy.

Google founders Larry Page and Sergey Brin championed the launch of the AI-focused Google Brain in 2011, and acquired DeepMind in 2014.

Google later transformed into Alphabet, and Waymo became a unique company within this new corporate structure.

This allowed Waymo to offer its own equity to employees, seek external investors, and to create a new culture distinct from Google's, the outgoing CEO said.

Earlier this year, Elon Musk said that Tesla has better hardware and software than Google's self-driving car unit to attain full self-driving system.

"To my surprise, Tesla has better AI hardware & software than Waymo (money)," Musk said in a tweet.

He responded to Krafcik who had said that Tesla has taken a misguided approach to developing fully autonomous cars and its "full self-driving" system will fail to live up to its billing.

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