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Cruise confirms layoffs in robotaxi maintenance roles

The back half of a white coupe with an orange ribbon on its passenger side showing a Cruise logo pulls into a driveway and enters a fenced-in parking lot.
A Cruise AV enters the Cruise lot on 10th Street in San Francisco in July 2023. On Thursday, Cruise announced layoffs for some contractors that service its robotaxis. | Source: Isaac Ceja/The Standard

A day after word of job cuts spread at Cruise, the autonomous vehicle robotaxi company announced it is laying off contractors who worked on its ride-hailing services.

The company stated layoffs for some workers before telling The Standard that it had made “the difficult decision to reduce a portion of the contingent workforce that supported driverless ride-hail operations.”

Cruise said the workers were responsible for “cleaning, charging and maintaining the fleet, and we’re grateful for their contributions.”

READ MORE: Cruise Takes All Robotaxis Off the Roads Nationwide After California Suspension

A car without a driver is seen in the road by a building as a man uses a crosswalk nearby
A pedestrian crosses Division Street as a driverless Cruise approaches them in San Francisco on Aug. 15, 2023. | Source: Jeremy Chen/The Standard

The workers, contracted through third-party vendors or staffing agencies, also fielded questions from riders about items left behind in vehicles. The company did not share any numbers on its layoffs.

General Motors-owned Cruise announced a recall of all its vehicles to allow for software upgrades this week. The recall was due to an Oct. 2 incident where a woman was dragged by a Cruise vehicle after another vehicle knocked her into its path.

According to the recall notice filed with federal regulators, the Cruise “inaccurately characterized the collision as a lateral collision,” which led the vehicle to pull over out of traffic instead of remaining still.

In a Wednesday blog post, the company also announced it plans to carry out additional measures to help rebuild consumer trust and shore up safety protocols.

On Oct. 24, the state Department of Motor Vehicles suspended its license for Cruise, ending the company’s transportation of passengers without human drivers throughout San Francisco.

Some of the safety measures described in the Wednesday blog post include naming a new interim chief safety officer and retaining law and engineering firms to examine and analyze the Oct. 2 incident.

The company is still carrying out limited supervised driving in some markets, as well as mapping and supervised testing, as part of technical improvements.

According to GM’s third-quarter earnings report, Cruise has lost more than $2 billion this year through the end of September.