Off the cusp of a fatal crash this past spring, Uber continues to scale back its autonomous-driving group with reports indicating that the company has laid off approximately 100 staff members within their San Francisco and Pittsburgh offices.
As per reports, Uber apparently had a meeting this past July 11th to announce that about 100 safety drivers within their self-driving fleet would be let go. With these roles eliminated, the plans for Uber are to train new drivers that will be referred as ‘mission specialists’; having increased skills set to assist the development of the self-driving fleet by offering added feedback to Uber.
As of this writing, CNET reported that Uber has yet to comment on the Pittsburgh and San Francisco layoffs; however, they have told a variety of news outlets that the laid-off drivers would be open to apply for these ‘mission specialists’ roles, with 55 new positions created. They will be filled via priority consideration.
Despite the fact that operations are being scaled back, it is being reported that an Uber representative has stated that the company still stands dedicated to creating safe autonomous driving and they do look forward to returning to public roads in the near months to come.
This past May, Uber’s driverless-car groups in Arizona was closed down with 300 staff members let go, after a pedestrian was killed by an autonomous car, the first fatality of this kind.
Some experts stated that the accident was completely preventable. As such, in the aftermath of this incident, the company has also stopped self-driving operation within across North America, with fleets pulled off the roads in Toronto, San Francisco, Pittsburgh, and Tempe.
While self-driving technology is fascinating, the idea of it all is scary as well. Safety should be at the forefront of all company’s minds when it comes to this new and revolutionary way of transportation.