NuTonomy, the Cambridge-based startup that began testing self-driving cars in Boston recently, has hired a former Zipcar executive to ramp up the company’s partnerships as it prepares to launch an on-demand autonomous vehicle system.
The company announced Monday that Gretchen Effgen will serve as its vice president of partnerships, a newly created role. Effgen worked at Zipcar from 2010 to 2014, serving as its vice president of strategy and corporate development and other business development roles. She was most recently an executive vice president at smart parking solutions company CivicSmart.
Effgen has been appointed to shape the company’s global partnership strategy as it ramps up for the 2018 launch of what it’s calling “the world’s first commercial autonomous vehicle mobility-on-demand system,” the company said.
“I look forward to identifying growth opportunities for nuTonomy through creative partnerships, while further enhancing the company’s strong leadership position in the rapidly developing global autonomous transportation industry,” Effgen said in a statement.
Last fall, the company landed a partnership with Singapore ride-hailing company Grab to support an expansion of its ongoing trial of self-driving cars in Singapore. The partnership gives select Grab users a chance to hitch a ride using nuTonomy’s self-driving cars in the city’s business district. The company also has a research and development partnership with the Singapore Land Transport Authority to develop a commercial autonomous vehicle service there.
Most recently, nuTonomy began testing a fleet of self-driving Renault Zoe electric vehicles on public roads within the Raymond L. Flynn Marine Park in Boston’s Seaport.
While at Zipcar, Effgen led the company’s strategic partnership initiatives with Ford, Honda, Toyota, Google and other companies, nuTonomy said. She is also a member of the World Economic Forums’ Global Future Council on Cities and Urbanization, for which she speaks frequently on the intersection of transportation and urbanization.
“We are thrilled to welcome Gretchen as an integral part of nuTonomy’s executive leadership team. In addition to her extensive knowledge of the intersection of urbanization and transportation, she has an impressive track record in forging effective relationships among the world’s most-respected automobile, transportation and technology companies,” Karl Iagnemma, nuTonomy’s CEO and co-founder, said in a statement.