GM Cruise laid off 8% of its full-time employees developing its full self-driving tech. The pandemic has hit the automotive sector pretty hard, including legacy automakers.
According to Bloomberg, the lay offers were announced in a memo written by Cruise CEO Dan Ammann to the staff. Cruise showed some sympathy for the laid-off workers, offering them financial support and health-care coverage until the end of the year to help them get through these trying times.
It appears that GM Cruise did not let many people go from its engineering and core development teams, so progress in self-driving tech may still be possible.
Cruise seems to be remaining positive despite these setbacks.
"In this time of great change, we're fortunate to have a crystal-clear mission and billions of dollars in the bank. The actions we took today reflect us doubling down on engineering work and engineering talent," said Ray Wert, a Cruise spokesman.
Cruise's direct competitor is Tesla, and its AI Autopilot team lead by Andrej Karpathy. Both Tesla and GM Cruise are developing AI-driven self-driving technology for their respective ride-hailing services.
The race to autonomy and ride-hailing fleets that support self-driving tech seems to be the next big change that will take place in the auto industry. The stakes are high for the automaker who can achieve level 5 autonomy.
ARK Invest forecasted that Tesla could enjoy a near-monopoly with Autopilot and its Robotaxi fleet. The other automakers who could share the ride-hailing service market with Tesla have yet to be determined. GM Cruise has some stiff competition in Waymo and more seem to pop up as time passes.
Featured Image Credit: Cruise