Uber has hired Google veteran Amit Singhal as its new senior VP of engineering, the company announced on Friday.
At Uber, Singhal will oversee the ride-hailing service's marketplace and mapping departments. He will report to Uber CEO Travis Kalanick and will also advise Anthony Levandowski who runs Uber's self-driving programme.
"Uber's technology is transforming urban mobility," Singhal wrote in a post on his personal blog, describing the company as a "geek's candy store."
"It's hard enough to connect millions of drivers to millions of riders in real time while creating optimal routes for drivers," Singhal wrote. "Add to that the twist of predicting real-time traffic, pooling multiple riders and making the system economically attractive for everyone — and now you have one of the most challenging computer science problems I've encountered in my 30-year career."
"And don't even get me starting on how interesting and exciting self-driving is for computer scientist," he wrote.
At Google, employee no. 176 Singhal worked at the company for 15 years where he headed its search division and is credited with helping perfect Google's search ranking algorithm. He announced his retirement from Google in February last year, saying the next phase of his career would focus on philanthropy. He founded the Singhal Foundation that aims to provide high quality education to underprivileged children in India.
Singhal is the latest Google employee making his way over to Uber in recent years as well.
In December 2015, Manik Gupta was hired as Uber's director of products for maps, after leaving a similar position at Google's Maps division. In June the same year, Uber hired Brian McClendon, a Google engineering VP and 10-year company veteran, to oversee its new Advanced Technologies Center in Pittsburgh.
In September 2016, launching its self-driving car pilot in Pittsburgh and began a second fleet in San Francisco in December. However, a much-publicized battle with California regulators over proper permits required for self-driving vehicles forced the company to pull its autonomous vehicles off of the streets. Uber then shipped the cars to Arizona where there are no special regulations for self-driving cars.
"I love Amit's excitement for solving complex computer science problems and his passion for helping improve people's lives through technology," Kalanick wrote in a Facebook post. "The team at Uber, myself included, will learn a lot from him, and I can't wait for him to get started."