Zoox autonomous car startup fires humans in pandemic

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The self-driving car startup Zoox, valued at about $ 3 billion, has laid off nearly all human security drivers who worked for the company. According to information obtained by The Verge, about 120 employees were dismissed from the company, which was one of the first to test vehicles that drive alone with passengers in California.

The company extinguished security driver vacancies, which are the people who stay inside the autonomous car during street tests, a position required by law in many places in the United States. According to a company statement, the layoffs were carried out due to the country’s quarantine status.

The dismissed workers were informed about what happened in an email sent by the company on Friday (3). Speculation about the mass cut has been going on ever since a conversation between employees leaked and indicated cuts in the workforce after April 7.

The company said it would keep its employees’ salaries to date, but as the quarantine period has been extended, the startup has chosen to fire drivers. According to The Verge, Zoox is the first major self-driving car firm to carry out a mass layoff instead of simply suspending its operations.

Promise of rehiring

According to Zoox, layoffs should not be considered a “standard” and the company’s performance should return to normal after the global pandemic period. The firm even said it plans to rehire all affected employees. “Zoox has every intention of resuming tests and normal business practices and will need your efforts to get back on track,” commented the firm in a statement sent to employees.

The company explained that the layoffs are related to the state of social isolation applied in California, United States, which increased the quarantine period until May 3. With the extension of the fight against covid-19, the company kept only employees who “can work remotely”.

While the promise of rehiring remains in the air, former company employees who spoke to The Verge said they doubted Zoox’s position. According to one of the former employees, who left the company in December, the company has a “high turnover rate”: of the seven people who were hired with him, five ended up being fired in less than a month.


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