Motional layoffs 2024 – Discontinued News

Motional, an autonomous vehicle company, fired 129 workers in Southern Nevada. The business shut down its commercial self-driving operations in Las Vegas. The layoffs were reported in a notice to the state filed on May 7.

Motional is a joint venture between Aptiv, an autonomous technology company, and Hyundai Motor Group. It has operated a commercial autonomous ride-hailing service with Lyft and Uber. According to the firm, the product or service will now be on hold.

The layoffs in Las Vegas are part of Motional’s nationwide reduction. According to a TechCrunch story, the company Motional layoffs roughly 550 people in recent weeks, accounting for 40% of its workforce.

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Hyundai’s Plan for Motional Amid Ownership Shift

Motional began as a $4 billion joint venture between Hyundai and automotive supplier Aptiv. The business’s future was called into question earlier this year. It happened when Aptiv revealed plans to reduce its ownership stake and cease contributing funds to the initiative. This is due to the high cost of commercializing a robo-taxi service and its long path to profitability. As of March 31, Aptiv plans to cut its stock stake in Motion from 50% to roughly 15%, putting Hyundai in charge.

Hyundai recently invested $475 million in Motional. Also, it spent an additional $448 million to acquire 11% of Aptiv’s common stock stake in the company. It comes after Motional acquired a bridge loan in March as a stopgap for this additional investment after laying off 5% of its workforce a few weeks earlier.

The layoffs at Motional are a sign of the issues facing the autonomous car sector. Fewer companies can continue investing billions of dollars in a technology far from ready for prime time. In some cases, it is even further away from profitability.

Motional layoffs 2024

Motional layoffs

Based on information obtained from WARN notice filings, Motional Autonomous Vehicle Company has laid off about 550 workers.

Recently, TechCrunch reported that Motional is ceasing commercial operations. It also mentioned that the company is postponing plans to start a robo-taxi service with its next-generation Hyundai Ioniq 5 robotaxis until 2026. These are all due to its restructuring plan. The extent of the layoffs is now more apparent to us.

A Motional employee told TechCrunch that every team has been affected. The layoffs include high-level departures. Notably, Abe Ghabra is the company’s chief operating officer.

The company’s technical program management team is responsible for autonomy and cloud operations. According to the source, this team has been reduced from 44 to 19.

The Milpitas location in Silicon Valley held a branch of Motional’s computational design team. Two sources verified that this team is also closing.

According to sources, the high-performance computing team, including director David Fermor, has been dissolved. The Venice office in Los Angeles served as modest operations and commercial hub for UberEats deliveries. It is also closing, according to sources.

According to sources, the staff behind Motional’s remote auto assistance platform has been dramatically reduced. Product, safety, cybersecurity, and legal team employees were also affected. In a statement, the company stated that all business functions had had employee cuts.

Approximately 145 of the laid-off employees were from Pittsburgh. This is according to a WARN notice submitted to Pennsylvania’s Department of Labor and Industry. A source familiar with the situation claimed that most of Pittsburgh’s workforce was in the software industry.

According to a WARN notice filed in Nevada, another 129 employees were hired from Motional’s Las Vegas team. Motional’s Vegas workers include remote vehicle assist teams, vehicle operators, and testers.

Also, 52 employees were laid off from Motional’s Venice location and 41 from Milpitas. It is according to an updated WARN notice filed in California. 

A Motional employee reported that both locations had teams working on

  • high-performance computing,
  • autonomy, 
  • system operations, and
  • product development.   

Motional was also tested in Massachusetts, but WARN warnings have yet to be issued. One source stated that autonomy and infrastructure software teams were mainly unaffected. Yet Motional is left with a reduced team to help increase its core technology and business model. Meanwhile, the business is preserving its limited capital.

One of Motional’s sources said the company’s technology must still be improved. Until the middle of May, Motional provided robo-taxi rides in Las Vegas via the Uber and Lyft networks. It also supplies Uber Eats clients in Santa Monica. A human safety operator was always behind the wheel. Another expert drove into the passenger seat to manually log any difficulties. Meanwhile, Waymo, Motional’s primary competitor, provides completely autonomous trips in Phoenix, San Francisco, and Los Angeles.

Motional declined to comment on the specifics of the layoffs but did say the following: 

“We’ve revised our strategic plan. We are going to focus resources on further growth and generalization of our core driverless technology. Also, we are de-emphasizing near-term commercial deployments and related operations.”

“This improved strategy requires a simplification of the team. Thus, it will result in fewer employees across all company activities. We sincerely thank the team members who are leaving Motional for how they contributed to our goals.”

Conclusion

One laid-off employee was informed that the affected employee would continue to be paid for ten weeks. The laid-off employees’ last day was scheduled for July 6. Instead of a lump-sum payment, laid-off employees would receive “garden leave.” It means they will be paid every two weeks, like a regular paycheck. 

Employees will also earn a 28.5% incentive on top of the 20% bonus they received in March. Motional has requested employees notify the business if they find a new job before July 6. This idea is to avoid any overlap in employment.

Employees having shares vested in March 2024 will be paid out after some time. It’s because Motional is still awaiting valuation to figure out the new share price.

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