According to a report filed by Bloomberg, Google Waymo staff experienced multiplied salaries and bonuses based on the key milestones the company has reached, despite the fact that it has not generated enough revenue for its parent company Google. The huge compensation awarded to employees was meant to prevent its top talent from leaving and joining other self-driving outfits.
Huge Payouts Experienced By Google Waymo Employees
The unorthodox payment system in Waymo started back in 2010, right after Google launched its first self-driving car. Aside from salaries, some employees were also given bonuses and equity in the business. Later on, Google came up with a multiplier to these payments, based on periodic valuations of the company.
In 2015, a large multiplier was applied to the employees' compensation packages that snowballed into multi-million dollar payments, even though the goal of producing autonomous vehicles for public consumption still remained years away.
Unfortunately, the huge payments worked against Google as its self-driving car division saw an increase in staff departures last year. Bloomberg says that the big payouts experienced by the staff backfired as employees had less financial incentive to stay on with the project. Just to be clear, this was not the main reason why many people left the company, although it also played a factor in their decision to quit.
Google Waymo Employees Left Waymo In 2016 To Form Own Companies
Some of the team members were doubtful of John Krafcik's leadership, while others left because they wanted to found their own autonomous vehicle companies. Christopher Urmson, former lead of Google's self-driving car project, left in August last year and is now working with former Tesla executive Sterling Anderson on Aurora Innovation.
One of Google's former directors, Bryan Salesky, is now the CEO of Argo AI, which got a $1 billion investment from Ford last week. Other employees who left the project are now heading Otto, an autonomous trucking startup owned by Uber.
As Google's self-driving car division morphed into a standalone business unit under Alphabet last December, its payment scheme was also overhauled and replaced by a more uniform payment structure that treated all its employees the same.
More About Google Waymo
Google Waymo is an offshoot of the Google X special projects lab. The company is aiming to collaborate with third-party car manufacturers in order to add self-driving functionality to their vehicles. The company recently partnered with Chrysler to come up with the Chrysler Pacifica Minivan.