Laura Bliss is a staff writer at CityLab, covering transportation, infrastructure, and the environment. She also authors MapLab, a biweekly newsletter about maps that reveal and shape urban spaces (subscribe here). Her work has appeared in the New York Times, The Atlantic, Los Angeles, GOOD, L.A. Review of Books, and beyond.
Jul 11, 2018
The layoffs signal a dramatic scaling back of the company’s autonomous vehicle testing.
More than 100 Uber employees who piloted the company’s nascent self-driving cars in Pittsburgh and San Francisco were laid off on Wednesday afternoon, four months after one such vehicle struck and killed a pedestrian in Arizona.
The layoffs are the latest scale-back of the company’s autonomous vehicle testing program, following other cuts that collectively have slashed the number of autonomous vehicle operators from roughly 400 to 55. Former and current employees expect future testing to follow much more limited routes.
Wednesday’s layoff came during an all-hands meeting at Uber’s Strip District headquarters in Pittsburgh, where the vast majority of the company’s autonomous vehicle operators had been based. The 100-plus affected employees have been given the option of either taking severance or applying for one of 55 more specialized positions involved in AV testing, an Uber spokesperson confirmed.