Waymo, formerly Google's Self-Driving Car Project, has been seeing a good number of its employees leaving, and it appears to be due to money. And this isn't the usual case of people wanting more money, or not getting paid enough, it turns out Waymo was paying them too much, according to those familiar with the situation. The compensation system that the project used, especially with their early staffers, gave out supersized payouts, which was all based on the value of the project. Which meant that by late 2015, may veteran staff members didn't need to stick with Waymo, and that they could move onto another opportunity, and that's exactly what they did. A couple of people that were familiar with the situation and spoke with Bloomberg called it "F-you money."
This became an issue for Waymo, as they were losing talent left and right, and at a pretty bad time for the project. As they were looking to turn the project into a business – now called Waymo. But with the project losing executives and other employees, it made it tough to actually do that. Other projects under Alphabet's name also use a compensation system similar to what the Self-Driving Car Project had done, and the thinking here was to reward employees when the project is doing well, instead it turned out to have the adverse affect. What really led to a number of people leaving was the multiplier that was added in 2015, where some people were getting multi-million dollar payouts. Allowing them to go out and pursue other opportunities.
Now that the Self-Driving Car Project is its own business, Waymo, this compensation system may be going away, or at least being changed in the near future. Waymo has also changed the way they are doing things. The original plan for Waymo was to make their own self-driving cars, but now they are looking to create the software and hardware that can be used on existing vehicles to make them self-driving. And the purpose of this is to allow car makers to do what they do best, make cars, while Waymo makes the hardware and software needed. This way they aren't directly competing with these car makers, who have undoubtedly been doing this for quite some time.