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Argo AI announced late last week it is laying off 150 employees and shutting down its autonomous vehicle operation in Washington, DC. A number of now former employees posted about the layoffs on LinkedIn. The majority of LinkedIn posts reviewed by The Robot Report came from individuals who held positions in recruiting.
“With incredible growth and progress made in our mission to deploy driverless vehicles, we are making prudent adjustments to our business plan to best continue on a path for success,” Argo said in a statement to various media outlets. The Robot Report reached out to Argo AI for additional information, but at press time hadn’t received a response.
Pittsburgh-based Argo AI is backed by both Ford and Volkswagen (VW). It was founded in 2016 as a spinoff from Carnegie Mellon University. Since its founding, the company has raised $3.6 billion and grown to more than 2000 employees worldwide. Ford invested $1 billion in the company in 2017 and VW invested $2.6 billion in 2019.
The company still has more than 200 job openings on its career page, the majority of which are engineering roles.
Argo AI recently partnered with Walmart and announced a plan together with Ford to test autonomous vehicle delivery last year in three cities. The company is working with Lyft to test driverless robotaxis in Austin and Miami.
As concerns about the economy continue to worsen, Argo AI isn’t the only robotics company to recently downsize. Starship Technologies, a sidewalk delivery robot company, recently laid off 11% of its global workforce. The company, which has engineering headquarters in Estonia and business headquarters in San Francisco, said it has been negatively impacted by the “dramatic downward shifts” in the global economy and investment market.
Similar downward shifts in the global investment market, specifically the investment market in China, were cited for the reported layoffs at Pudu Robotics, a Chinese developer of commercial service robots. And DoorDash shut down its subsidiary Chowbotics just 18 months after acquired by acquiring the business. DoorDash said it expects around 35 layoffs as a result of the shutdown, which will be effective August 31st, 2022