Ride-sharing company Uber has laid off all 100 of its self-driving car safety operators in Pittsburgh as it begins to reevaluate its tests after a fatal crash in Tempe, AZ in March. Following the crash, the company also halted testing of its fleet in Phoenix, San Francisco, and Toronto in what it called a "standard procedure".
The company announced on July 11th that the employees, whose jobs were to ride Uber's fleet of autonomous vehicles and monitor their operation, would be terminated. These drivers had been on the company's payroll even though the company suspended its trials earlier this year.
In place of these positions, the company will introduce 55 new ones, dubbed "mission specialists" for testing on both roads and test tracks. Uber is still testing the vehicles at a location outside Pittsburg, but the new employees will need more technical expertise and laid off drivers will be given priority consideration. The company has been banned by the govenor from testing on public roads and had previously laid off 300 safety operators as a result.
Uber's Advanced Technology Group has its headquarters located in Pittsburgh and has had a rocky relationship with the city's mayor.