Alphabet’s self-driving car division Waymo has confirmed it has already carried out two tranches of job cuts.

On Wednesday it confirmed it has cut approximately 8 percent of its staff across two rounds of layoffs this year, CNN reported.

This means that a total of 209 jobs have been eliminated, after cuts were carried out in late January and another more recent round.

Image credit: Waymo

Waymo layoffs

“We took a thoughtful approach and feel confident that we’re providing for each of these former teammates through this transition,” the company said in a statement to CNN. “We’re confident that we have the right teams in place to achieve success for Waymo.”

The cuts come despite the self-driving car unit enjoying some success recently. Last November Waymo was approved to offer San Francisco residents a robo taxi service, and it also unveiled a brand new vehicle.

The California Public Utilities Commission (CPUC) had “authorised Waymo LLC to participate in California’s pilot program to provide “driverless” autonomous vehicle (AV) passenger service to the public.”

This meant that passengers could now ride in a test AV that operates without a driver.

Until the CPUC decision, Waymo had offered free driverless rides to employees or members of a testing program in San Francisco.

With that authorisation, Waymo was allowed to offer driverless passenger service throughout San Francisco and portions of Daly City, as well as in portions of the cities of Los Altos, Los Altos Hills, Mountain View, Palo Alto, and Sunnyvale.

Waymo’s driverless test AVs may operate on public roadways with posted speed limits up to 65 miles per hour, at all times of day or night.

Waymo also just recently announced that it will expand its autonomous ride-hailing service to Los Angeles.

Alphabet layoffs

Alphabet said in January that it was cutting 12,000 jobs, or 6 percent of its workforce, after having grown by more than 50,000 employees over the prior two years.

The cuts to Waymo highlight how Alphabet’s ambitions are not immune to its renewed focus on reining in costs.

Surging inflation and higher interest rates led to an economic slowdown, and other tech firms are also engaging in large scale job losses.

Tom Jowitt

Tom Jowitt is a leading British tech freelancer and long standing contributor to Silicon UK. He is also a bit of a Lord of the Rings nut...

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