August 8, 2022

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Tesla cutting 200 jobs, closing Autopilot office in San Mateo

2 min read

Elon Musk talks at the Automotive World News Congress at the Renaissance Center in Detroit, Michigan.

Rebecca Cook | Reuters

Tesla is closing its office in San Mateo, California, and eliminating an estimated 200 jobs there, CNBC has confirmed, as part of a broader cost-cutting effort at the electric vehicle company.

At the San Mateo facility, hundreds of employees were tasked with labeling videos from the company’s cars in order to improve their driver assistance systems, marketed as Autopilot. Bloomberg first reported on the office closure and layoffs.

Two employees impacted by the layoffs told CNBC on Tuesday that they knew Tesla’s lease was approaching its end. The workers asked not to be named because they weren’t authorized to speak on the matter.

Tesla, which has yet to deliver on its promise of robotaxi technology, previously moved a number of its Autopilot data employees to its location in Palo Alto, California. The company has also been hiring and training data annotation teams in Buffalo, New York. Some San Mateo office employees had trained the teams in Buffalo, the staffers said.

The typical data annotation job at Tesla involves identifying and describing objects in short clips that were captured by cameras and sensors on Tesla vehicles. Data labelers sometimes need to identify overlapping objects, like a wheel in front of a curb or a pedestrian obstructing the full view of a stop sign. They’re rated on how many clips they can accurately annotate over short periods of time.

Most developers of driver assistance and automated driving systems outsource at least some of their data labeling work to companies like Amazon’s Mechanical Turk, Cloudfactory, Hive AI and Appen.

One employee told CNBC that much of the staff in San Mateo had expected to be moved to Palo Alto or to another office, but not to lose their jobs.

CNBC also obtained an audio recording of a meeting on Tuesday, during which a manager told the Tesla Autopilot data teams about the layoffs.

“You knew…

2022-06-28 21:41:00

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