Tesla is shutting its office in San Mateo, California, and laying off about 200 people there is confirmed, to cut costs.
At the company’s San Mateo office, hundreds of workers were asked to label videos from the company’s cars so that the Autopilot driver assistance system could be made better.
Two people who were let go said on Tuesday that they knew Tesla’s lease was coming to an end. The employees are asked not to be identified because they weren’t allowed to talk about the situation.
Tesla hasn’t yet delivered on its promise of robotaxi technology, but it did move some Autopilot data workers to its Palo Alto, California, office. The company has also been hiring and training people in Buffalo, New York, to work on data annotation. The staff said that some people from the San Mateo office had trained the teams in Buffalo.
A typical data annotation job at Tesla involves figuring out what is in short clips that were taken by cameras and sensors on Tesla vehicles and writing about what is there. Data labelers sometimes have to find objects that overlap, like a wheel in front of a curb or a person in front of a stop sign. They get a grade based on how many clips they can annotate correctly in a short amount of time.
Most people who work on driver assistance and automated driving systems hire companies like Amazon’s Mechanical Turk, Cloudfactory, Hive AI, and Appen to do at least some of their data labeling work.
One worker told that many of the people who worked in San Mateo thought they would be moved to Palo Alto or another office but not fired.
“You knew that our lease in San Mateo was coming to an end,” the manager said. She told the employees that the company did everything it could to try to move the whole Autopilot team from the old office in San Mateo to the new office in Palo Alto.
She said, “I’m sorry, but we couldn’t.” “So, what that means is that we changed how things work, and your jobs were affected.”
At the meeting, employees were told that they would be paid in full for the next 60 days but that June 28 would be their last day of work. They were told to leave their laptops and badges at their desks right away. They were also told that emails with information about severance and benefits would be sent to their inboxes.
People are likely to get paid based on how long they worked at the company and an extra two months of benefits, which would keep them covered until Oct. 31.
In an interview that came out last week, Tesla CEO Elon Musk said that the company’s new factories in Texas and Berlin were losing “billions of dollars” because of problems with the supply chain that made it hard for the company to increase production in both places.
Musk said in an interview recorded on May 30 with Tesla Owners Silicon Valley on Tesla is shutting its office in San Mateo, a company-approved fan club and that both the Berlin and Austin factories are making a lot of money right now. “It should sound like a huge roaring noise, like money on fire.”
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