General Motors (GM) self-driving vehicle unit, Cruise, announced via an internal email plans to lay off 8% of its workforce amid the coronavirus pandemic.
The lay offs, which amount to about 150 people out of the roughly 1,800 employees, will have the biggest impact on the project’s engineering team based out of Pasadena, California. That team is developing the Lidar technology to be used in the Cruise self-driving fleet.
Despite the cutbacks, Cruise spokesperson Milin Mehta told Reuters the long-term prospects for the project remain strong.
“In this time of great change, we’re fortunate to have a crystal clear mission and billions in the bank. The actions we took today reflect us doubling down on our engineering work and engineering talent.”
Earlier this year, Cruise unveiled their first car, a driverless electric vehicle with no steering wheel or pedals that looks like two Kia Soul EV’s have been cut in half and the rear ends glued together.
The Cruise is based on a model of shared riding, much like a small bus or taxi, but obviously without a driver. In the new world post-covid, where keeping a safe distance between yourself and others is the new norm, Cruise may have a tough time getting out of the gates.