Tesla Dismisses Over 200 Autopilot Engineers Who Assist Build Company’s AI

Tesla AI
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Tesla has fired off over 200 employees, the majority of whom were charged with classifying data to aid in the training of the company’s Autopilot AI system.

The layoffs, originally reported by Bloomberg and verified by TechCrunch, are the business’s latest job losses after CEO Elon Musk informed company executives that the company needs to decrease its staff by around 10%.

The layoffs were concentrated at Tesla’s San Mateo, California, offices, where staff were working on the company’s driver-assistance technology Autopilot. Many of those apparently affected were hourly workers charged with classifying training data. Such work is necessary for creating AI systems, but it is frequently unskilled and underpaid. In recent years, several businesses have looked to less-developed nations for cheaper labor supplies.

According to TechCrunch, Tesla’s San Mateo branch initially employed 276 employees. According to the magazine, 195 staff, including data labelers, analysts, and supervisors, have been laid off, leaving 81 people who would supposedly be moved to another office.

Tesla has 99,290 employees globally as of the end of 2021. Musk stated earlier this month that he had a “very awful feeling” about the US economy and that Tesla was “overstaffed,” which prompted the layoffs. Initially, Musk stated that job losses would mostly affect paid personnel, but subsequent reports stated (and the San Mateo layoffs demonstrate) that hourly workers are also at risk.

Tesla’s techniques for downsizing its workforce have been criticized at times. Two former employees have filed a complaint against Tesla, alleging that the firm violated federal law by neglecting to providing 60 days’ notice before performing a mass layoff at its Nevada Gigafactory. According to sources quoted in TechCrunch’s story on the San Mateo layoffs, the majority of the workers were terminated based on performance, which means Tesla would not be compelled to provide advance notice of the firings.

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