Waymo cuts 200 employees after second round of layoffs
Alphabet’s Waymo has issued its second round of layoffs this year, the company confirmed to TechCrunch. Combined with the initial cuts in January, the self-driving technology company has let go of 8% or 209 employees of its workforce.
The layoffs — mostly engineering roles — are part of a broader organizational restructure that follows a “fiscally disciplined approach,” according to a Waymo spokesperson. In other words, the company is cutting costs where it can as it continues to develop and deploy its technology. Waymo is on the path to commercialization of self-driving vehicle technology, but the road ahead is long, and the company isn’t yet bringing in much revenue to fund its operations.
Waymo’s layoffs follow a surge of cuts at Alphabet and Google in January. Alphabet is among many U.S. companies to reduce staff ahead of an impending recession. Some analysts and investors say Waymo’s layoffs aren’t merely a product of a down market. The company has received serious investment from its parent company, and activist investor TCI Fund Management said in November that Waymo hasn’t yet justified that spend.
The news of more layoffs comes the same week that Waymo announced plans to start testing fully driverless vehicles — meaning with no human safety operator behind the wheel — in Los Angeles. Scaling its robotaxi service to new cities is key to Waymo’s commercialization strategy, and thus, its potential to provide a good return on investment. The company is still likely years out from earning enough revenue to cover its cash burn, though.
Waymo told TechCrunch that the company is in a strong position with a clear path forward and an immense opportunity to seize. A spokesperson touched on Waymo’s growing operations in San Francisco and expanded commercial operations in Phoenix as evidence of the company’s ability to develop, deploy and commercialize its self-driving technology.