News Uber scales back self-driving operations, lays off 100 employees

18:56  12 july  2018
18:56  12 july  2018 Source:   cnet.com

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Uber is scaling back its self - driving team in the wake of the fatal Arizona crash and the subsequent shutdown of its autonomous operations . The ridesharing company has confirmed to Pittsburgh's Action 4 News that it laid off about 100 employees in its self - driving vehicle team.

Uber has laid off 100 self - driving car test drivers in Pittsburgh in the wake of a high-profile crash in Arizona. The company is replacing them with 55 so-called “mission specialists,” technical specialists trained on both on-road and test track conditions

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Approximately 100 employees in Uber's self-driving operations across Pittsburgh and San Francisco have been laid off, Quartz reported Wednesday.

According to the report, Uber held a meeting on July 11 announcing to around 100 safety drivers of their autonomous fleet that they would be laid off. With the positions abolished, Uber plans to train up new drivers known as "mission specialists" with a more advanced skill set that will help develop the self-driving fleet by providing additional feedback to Uber developers.

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  Ohio wants to be the 'Wild, Wild West' for self-driving cars Ohio has become the latest state to open its roads for testing self-driving vehicles, in a boost to a nascent industry that has been facing increased scrutiny after a well-publicized death involving Uber's self-driving car testing. In Ohio, self-driving vehicles will have to meet safety requirements and comply with the state's traffic laws, Republican Governor John Kasich said in an executive order. It allows companies to test on any public road in the state, including without a driver behind the wheel.

Uber laid off 100 of its self - driving car backup drivers in Pittsburgh on Wednesday as it scales back its testing in the wake of its fatal crash in March.

The company convened a meeting on July 11th to inform around 100 safety drivers — employees who ride in Uber ’s self - driving vehicles and monitor their operation — that their positions would be terminated, according to the report.

CNET reached out to Uber for comment, but at time of writing had not received a reply.

Uber has told multiple news outlets that drivers laid off could apply for the 55 "mission specialist" positions that will be created and will be given priority consideration.

Although operations are being wound back, an Uber spokesperson told Quartz that the team "remains committed to building safe self-driving technology" and "look forward to returning to public roads in the coming months."

Uber's driverless-car operations were shuttered in Arizona and 300 employees were laid off in May, following the first pedestrian fatality by an autonomous vehicle. Experts suggested that the crash was avoidable. As a result of the incident, Uber also halted operations across North America, with autonomous fleets in San Francisco, Toronto, Tempe and Pittsburgh all pulled off the roads.

This was originally published on Roadshow.

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Toyota just gave Uber's self-driving program a $500M jumpstart .
The two companies are teaming up to catch up to the leaders of the self-driving car race.The investment is a big step by both companies toward catching up to the likes of Waymo in the race to full autonomy. This move by Toyota is doubly interesting since we very recently reported on two of its main suppliers, Aisin and Denso, forming a supergroup of sorts to speed up self-driving hardware development with the goal of having it ready for market by 2020.

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