Motional, an autonomous company backed by Hyundai, cuts 5% of its workforce

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Motional, the autonomous vehicle company formed from a joint venture between Hyundai Moor Group and Aptiv, told employees Wednesday it would cut about 5% of its workforce, TechCrunch has learned.

The cuts, which result in fewer than 70 people, mainly affect administrative positions and some employees working in Boston, one of several cities where the company is testing autonomous vehicles, according to sources who asked to remain anonymous because they are not authorized to speak for Motional. . The autonomous vehicle company last experienced layoffs in December 2022, when it reduce by approximately 10% of its workforce. This earlier layoff primarily affected the company’s operations in Pittsburgh, where it tests AVs.

Motional operates an autonomous vehicle taxi service in Las Vegas (still with human safety operators behind the wheel) on Uber, Lyft And Via platforms. It also has an autonomous delivery pilot with Uber Eats in Santa Monica, California.

A Motional spokesperson confirmed the layoffs.

“Motional recently announced measures to reallocate resources to areas of the business that will directly enable long-term business success, including staff reductions that affected fewer than 5% of employees working in non-technical roles ” Motional said in an emailed statement. “We continue to hire the critical talent needed to grow our technology and achieve our business goals. We are confident in our financing roadmap and are well positioned for the next phase of our commercialization. Our team is focused on developing our driverless services, expanding Motional’s commercial partnerships, and continuing to develop Motional’s next-generation robotaxi in collaboration with Kia.

The layoffs come a month after auto parts maker Aptiv – the other half of a $4 billion joint venture with Hyundai that created Motional – announced it. would no longer allocate capital towards the effort.

With Aptiv withdrawing its future funding, Hyundai remains the sole backer, unless Motional is able to woo another company to fund its efforts. Motional is also exploring outside financing deals, according to a source. The company has already stated in internal meetings that it has enough headroom to last until the end of the first quarter of 2024.

Despite its financial woes, the company continued to make progress toward its goal of launching a robotaxi service using driverless Hyundai Ioniq 5 vehicles in 2024. In November, Hyundai Motor Group and Motional announced plans to co-develop production-ready versions of the Ioniq 5 all-electric robotaxi at the automaker’s new innovation center in Singapore, the Hyundai Motor Group Innovation Center Singapore (HMGICS). A production-ready autonomous vehicle, equipped with the type of redundancies designed for safe operations without a human driver, is a critical step required for commercial operations.

At CES 2024, the company announced plans to work with Kia on a next-generation vehicle that will enter commercial operation later this decade. The initial development process will begin this year, according to the company.

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