General Motors’ self-driving technology company Cruise, is attempting to hire engineers from struggling competitor Zoox Inc, according to an email sent to Zoox engineers by the founder of Cruise.
The move comes as the Wall Street Journal reported previous week that e-commerce giant Amazon.com Inc is currently in talks to purchase Zoox, a company founded six years ago in Silicon Valley.
“Cruise is willing to recognize the entire value of the rewards you’ve earned at Zoox – something that is very unlikely to happen through an acquisition in this environment,” noted the email from Cruise founder Kyle Vogt sent two days, according to a person who has read the email.
Cruise on Thursday confirmed the email had been sent. “We’re going after the best talent in the world, wherever they may be working and whatever else they might be working on,” said Kristine Boyden, the Cruise Chief Communications Officer.
The person who has read the email said there was no mention of Amazon in the letter, but that it kicked off by writing: “Writing because your company is potentially about to go through a major transition.”
As of May 12, Zoox had around 1,100 workers, according to data company PitchBook.
California Employment Development Department records show Zoox laid off 87 workers in April.
The source said Cruise has been doubling down on bringing more workers to its core technology and that layoffs in May that affected over 140 workers was a move to “right size” the organization. The layoffs consisted of staff at an engineering team in Pasadena, California, that worked on lidar, a sensor technology that uses pulsed laser light to sense objects.
Still, Cruise in April bought a German radar company Astyx that has about 60 workers, the company confirmed on Thursday.
Cruise has hired many engineers as well from this year from self-driving truck firm Starsky Robotics which was closing in March, according to two former Starsky engineers and information posted by engineers on LinkedIn.