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Self-Driving Car Company Cruise Trims Workforce, Closes Pasadena Facility Amid Pandemic

“We’re fortunate to have a crystal clear mission and billions in the bank,” says CEO

Published on Friday, May 15, 2020 | 12:47 pm
 
Image Credit: Cruise

Cruise, the self-driving car subsidiary of GM backed by SoftBank Vision Fund, Honda and T.Rowe Price and Associates, is closing its Pasadena office and laying off nearly eight percent of its workforce as the company tries to reduce costs during the COVID-19 pandemic, a TechCrunch report said.

The Pasadena location opened early last year after GM acquired Strobe, a Pasadena-based company, in order to incorporate Lidar, short for Light Detection and Ranging, into the first wave of autonomous vehicles.

Cruise leased 47,051 square feet of space in a two-story building at 465 N. Halstead Street, near the Hastings Village Shopping Center.

Cruise CEO Dan Ammann sent a memo confirming that the layoffs will affect employees in the product, marketing and rideshare business units, according to the TechCruch report.

The memo said employees who are laid off will be offered severance and their healthcare benefits will be paid for by the company through the end of the year.

Cruise spokesman Milin Mehta confirmed the cuts to TechCrunch, and noted that the Lidar team will be moved to Cruise’s San Francisco office,

“In this time of great change, we’re fortunate to have a crystal clear mission and billions in the bank,” Mehta told the tech news outlet. “The actions we took today reflect us doubling down on our engineering work and engineering talent.”

The downsizing will not effect the company’s efforts recruit engineers, Ammann said in the memo.

“From here we expect to recruit and grow across our engineering teams for the balance of the year,” he confirmed.

The layoffs are part of a broader strategy to shift resources to where its needed most during the COVID-19 pandemic, the report said.

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