Uber snags top Ford engineer for self-driving cars

Uber has built a self-driving car division in Pittsburgh and is bringing in top talent for the project.

(Image: File photo)

Uber has poached Sherif Marakby, director of global electronics and engineering at Ford, the company confirmed to The Verge, in what is a move believed to bolster its self-driving car program.

Uber, who is seen around the world as the leader in ride hailing and car sharing, could use self-driving cars for better transportation for its customers. As part of the hiring, Marakby will relocate from Detroit to Pittsburgh to join Uber as vice president of global vehicle programs where he will oversee "manufacturer strategy and integration efforts".

Of course, Uber hasn't confirmed its specific plans to build self-driving cars, however Brian McClendon, former vice president in the mapping division of Google, is running the self-driving car efforts at Uber's Advanced Technologies Center in Pittsburgh.

"Self-driving technology is a hard challenge to solve with enormous potential to improve people's lives," McClendon said in a statement. "Sherif is a world expert and we're excited to have him join the team."

At a time when Uber's global power is rising, it poached an entire team of roughly 50 people at Carnegie Mellon's top robotics research lab earlier this year to bring to the self-driving car project. The private company is valued at $62.5 billion based on recent funding rounds.