SAN FRANCISCO (KRON) — Driverless ride hailing service Cruise announced Thursday it will be laying off an unspecified number of workers, KRON4 has confirmed. The layoffs are set to impact contract workers employed through third-party vendors and staffing agencies, a Cruise representative told KRON.
Contingent workers who will be let go assisted with work that included cleaning, charging and maintaining the AV fleet, and customer support.
It was first reported on Wednesday that Cruise layoffs were on the way. According to Forbes, Cruise CEO Kyle Vogt told company executives that layoffs were necessary during an hour-long meeting Monday.
That meeting, Forbes reported, was to discuss damage control measures following a series of damaging headlines about the General Motors backed autonomous vehicle service. In San Francisco, there has been a steady stream of incidents involving Cruise vehicles.
In October, a Cruise vehicle ran over a pedestrian that was knocked into its path by another vehicle. With the pedestrian trapped under its chassis, the Cruise vehicle attempted to pull over, dragging the pedestrian who was critically injured as a result.
During an inquiry into the matter, Cruise failed to disclose that the vehicle had attempted a pullover maneuver with the pedestrian trapped underneath. Following that incident, San Francisco Supervisor Matt Dorsey accused Cruise of “selective disclosure of video evidence.”
Following that incident, Cruise’s autonomous vehicle deployment and driverless testing permits were suspended by the California Department of Motor Vehicles. The DMV cited “an unreasonable risk to public safety” as a reason for the suspension.
On Wednesday, General Motors announced it was recalling all 950 Cruise vehicles in order to update software to prevent similar incidents from occurring. Cruise is continuing to do limited supervised driving in markets it has previously operated in, however it is not currently operating driverless vehicles.
“Mapping and supervised testing with a safety driver behind the wheel will continue as this work is a crucial element of continuously improving our tech,” a spokesperson said.
Cruise declined to share specifics on the number of workers impacted or the locations where they worked.