Self-driving technology company Waymo laid off a “limited” number of employees in several divisions this week, according to a company spokesperson.
The company did not disclose how many employees were affected. The move comes amid economic headwinds that are particularly hampering the self-driving car industry and the technology sector as a whole.
Waymo is an independent subsidiary of Alphabet. The layoffs come on top of his 12,000 jobs that Google has cut in recent days.
At least 20 dismissed Waymo employees have announced the layoffs on LinkedIn. Their job titles reflected the overall nature of the cuts. Perceptions, system and software engineers, fleet maintenance specialists, system integrators, and more.
In a sign of the uneven landscape in the AV business, recruiters and friends are telling Waymo veterans who have just lost their jobs to work at self-driving tech companies like Cruise, Gatik, Kodiak Robotics, Motional and Outrider. Introduced active recruitment.
Motional itself went through an undisclosed number of layoffs in November. Waymo’s price cut comes three months after its main robo-taxi competitor, Argo AI, completely shut down. Argo was a joint venture between Ford Motor Co. and Volkswagen Group.
Despite the job cuts, the company’s targets for 2023 remain unaffected, according to a spokesperson. But plans for the company’s autonomous trucking unit Via have been postponed. Waymo has never publicly outlined a specific timeframe for commercially deploying an unmanned Class 8 tractor-trailer. Despite this, the company’s internal timeline is “slightly” behind, the spokesperson said.
The spokesperson said ongoing pilot projects with trucking partners such as UPS and JB Hunt will continue, as will work to develop the capabilities of the autonomous driving system on highways.
The company’s Waymo One passenger transportation commercial service, already a short-term focus for the company and now operating without a human safety driver in Phoenix, remains a short-term priority.
Neither testing nor commercial service has reduced the number of vehicles on the road, the spokesperson said. A company spokesperson said the company still has more than 700 vehicles and he has more than 2,000 employees.