According to the report, Uber held a meeting on July 11 announcing to around 100 safety drivers of their autonomous fleet that they would be laid off. With the positions abolished, Uber plans to train up new drivers known as "mission specialists" with a more advanced skill set that will help develop the self-driving fleet by providing additional feedback to Uber developers.
CNET reached out to Uber for comment, but at time of writing had not received a reply.
Uber has told multiple news outlets that drivers laid off could apply for the 55 "mission specialist" positions that will be created and will be given priority consideration.
Although operations are being wound back, an Uber spokesperson told Quartz that the team "remains committed to building safe self-driving technology" and "look forward to returning to public roads in the coming months."
Uber's driverless-car operations were shuttered in Arizona and 300 employees were laid off in May, following the first pedestrian fatality by an autonomous vehicle. Experts suggested that the crash was avoidable. As a result of the incident, Uber also halted operations across North America, with autonomous fleets in San Francisco, Toronto, Tempe and Pittsburgh all pulled off the roads.
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