General Motors-owned Cruise began laying off staff just one day after the robotaxi company’s operations were idled in the wake of a recall triggered by reports of the driverless cars posing a danger to public safety.
Cruise announced the job cuts on Thursday, which affected contract workers such as those who help with cleaning vehicles, fleet charging and fielding customer support inquiries, a spokesperson told The Post.
“Cruise has made the difficult decision to reduce a portion of the contingent workforce that supported driverless ridehail operations,” the rep said.
The company did not reveal how many staffers were axed.
Cruise’s operations have been hampered by a series of missteps that ended in the company recalling its entire 950-car autonomous vehicle fleet to undergo a software update that vows to improve the vehicle’s “Collision Detection System.”
The layoffs and recall are just the latest in what’s been a very bumpy road for Cruise, which reported that it lost $723 million during the third quarter and then had its driverless vehicle permit suspended by the California Department of Motor Vehicles.
GM stock fell more than 3% on Thursday but rebounded slightly on Friday.
Just weeks prior to the suspension, on Oct. 2, a passenger-less Cruise car mowed down a pedestrian on a San Francisco roadway, dragging the person some 20 feet and causing serious injuries before finally coming to a stop.
The pedestrian, an unnamed woman, found herself so wedged underneath the left rear axle of the vehicle that she had to be rescued with the Jaws of Life.
Cruise had claimed its vehicle was braking “aggressively” to try and minimize impact, and later said its “teams are currently doing an analysis to identify potential enhancements to the AV’s response to this kind of extremely rare event.”
The DMV, meanwhile, said the horrific crash had pushed it to conclude that “the manufacturer’s vehicles are not safe for the public’s operation.”
“The manufacturer has misrepresented any information related to safety of the autonomous technology of its vehicles,” it added.
“This decision does not impact the company’s permit for testing with a safety driver.”
A Cruise spokesperson confirmed to The Post that it was the Oct. 2 accident that prompted the recall.
However, it wasn’t the only incident. Back in August, a Cruise robotaxi was also involved in a crash with a fire truck operating in an emergency in San Francisco— a city where drivers have had to increasingly start sharing the roads with autonomous counterparts.
After the incident, Cruise investigated and said the car “did identify the risk of a collision and initiated a braking maneuver, reducing its speed, but was ultimately unable to avoid the collision.”