Chris Urmson was designing self-driving vehicles at Carnegie Mellon years before Uber, Lyft, or Waymo were founded, let alone hit the open roads. He was part of the team that won the 2007 DARPA Grand Challenge and served at the CTO of Google’s self-driving car program.
Today, he is CEO of Aurora. You won’t see an Aurora-branded car on the road any time soon, but the company is quickly gaining a reputation as the firm that will make autonomous cars actually work. Urmson was at SXSW in Austin to help promote Autonomy, a self-driving car documentary in which he appears, and that’s where we caught up with him.