Tesla is laying off about 200 people working in its Autopilot division and closing an office in San Mateo, California. The information, reported by Bloomberg on June 28, 2022, follows the announcement of a wave of layoffs by Elon Musk. The CEO of the electric vehicle manufacturer said at the beginning of the month that he wanted to cut 10% of the workforce due to a “very bad feeling” on the economy. This San Mateao office previously had a staff of 350 people. Some employees have already been transferred to other offices before the announcement of these layoffs.
These 200 layoffs relate to the teams responsible for evaluating the data concerning the Autopilot which comes from the vehicles of the customers in order to label them, that is to say to annotate them and to define them correctly (traffic signs, traffic, etc). These tasks are essential to then train and improve the artificial intelligence algorithms behind this advanced driver assistance system.
These dismissals may seem all the more surprising since these people are hourly workers. Yet when Elon Musk announced he wanted to downsize, he made it clear that those jobs where people are paid by the hour would be increased. But one person told Bloomberg that at the same time Tesla has continued to augment those Buffalo teams working on data labeling. The staff of this other office being paid less than that of San Mateo, according to this same source.
The manufacturer, which has considerably expanded its workforce in recent years to reach nearly 10,000 employees worldwide, is seeking to reduce the number of jobs while building new factories in Austin and Berlin. In the subject of the e-mail sent to the executives of the company it was written: “suspend all hiring around the world”. Elon Musk fears the recession even if for the moment the demand for electric vehicles remains strong. These job cuts are part of a dull and uncertain global economic context.