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Alphabet’s Waymo cuts more than 100 jobs in second round of layoffs



© Reuters. FILE PHOTO: A Waymo rider-only robotaxi is seen during a test ride in San Francisco, California, U.S., December 9, 2022. REUTERS/Paresh Dave

(Reuters) -Alphabet Inc’s self-driving technology unit, Waymo, laid off 137 employees, in its second round of job cuts this year, the firm told Reuters on Wednesday, bringing total cuts for the year to 8% of its workforce.

Waymo has eliminated some engineering roles as part of the cuts to “focus on commercial success,” the company said in a statement. The company has now cut a total of 209 jobs this year.

The job cuts at Waymo are part of wider layoffs across the auto and tech industry, including at Rivian Automotive Inc, General Motors Co (NYSE:) and Meta Platforms Inc (NASDAQ:).

Companies, in general, have found that developing fully autonomous vehicles (AVs) that can go everywhere has proven harder and more expensive than expected, and prospects of a profitable robotaxi business likely remain several years away.

Investors and industry watchers have been concerned about billions of dollars that have been poured into the self-driving technology sector in a short span of time to commercialize it.

Ford Motor (NYSE:) Co and Volkswagen AG (OTC:) pulled the plug on self-driving unit Argo AI in November. General Motors Co burned through nearly $2 billion in 2022 at its robotaxi unit, Cruise, and said it anticipates spending even more this year.

Activist investor TCI Fund Management said in November that Waymo is the biggest component of the Google-parent’s Other Bets segment and it has not justified excessive investment.

Alphabet (NASDAQ:) said in January it would slash 12,000 jobs, which would affect a large number of employees who support experimental projects. Its health science unit, Verily Life Sciences, said in January it had laid off over 200 employees, or about 15% of its workforce.

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