Uber hires former Twitter VP Raffi Krikorian to head its Moonshot Project

Uber has hires Raffi Krikorian as the company’s engineering lead at its Advanced Technologies Centern — the company’s joint venture with Carnegie Mellon University to work on moonshots such as innovations in robotics and other long-term technologies like self-driving cars, Tech Crunch reports.

As we reported at the time of the original announcement about it ATC, it’s also involved Uber poaching some 50 academics and researchers from CMU.

Krikorian announced the news in a tweet a little earlier — “i’m excited to say that i’ve joined uber’s advanced technologies center!” he noted — and he’s also updated hisLinkedIn profile.

He left Twitter back in 2014, one of a raft of senior departures at the company. At Twitter he led a team of 450 people working on Twitter’s Platform, including the “scaleable infrastructure as well as managing the software that powers the ecosystem. We built everything from the custom storage engines, to the compute / scheduling engines that ran in the datacenters, the core business logic of Twitter (the Tweet service, User service, Timeline service), to the APIs that power the third party ecosystem as well as the Twitter clients.”

The move to build out the ATC comes as Uber faces increasing pressure, and sometimes gradual acceptance, from regulators and a public for its disruptive, app-based transportation network. The company has raised nearly $5 billion to build out that network globally, insisting it’s a technology company first, not a taxi replacement. The ATC goes some way towards that concept.

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