Apple has acquired Drive.ai, a startup specializing in autonomous driving. A few weeks ago, rumors came out that Apple was busy acquiring Drive.ai and the Cupertino company has now confirmed that to Axios.
Axios reports that Apple is hiring several dozen engineers from Drive.ai as part of the acquisition. The website states that Drive.ai was in talks with several acquisition candidates. According to Axios sources, Apple is also acquiring the company’s autonomous driving cars, among a number of other things.
It is unknown how much money is involved in the acquisition, but according to Axios, that would be less than the $ 77 million that Drive.ai has previously raised in venture capital; the startup was valued at 200 million dollars in 2017, but the acquisition amount is probably far below that.
Drive.ai is an ailing company that, according to The Information, put itself in the shop window in February for possible takeover candidates. The San Francisco Chronicle reports that around the time of the acquisition announcement, Drive.ai had informed government officials that it would lay off 90 employees on Friday.
The company Drive.ai deploys automated shuttle buses in Texas, where no drivers ride on fixed routes. These are modified Nissan NV200s. Drive.ai was founded by machine learning researchers at Stanford University.
It is unclear what exactly Apple is acquiring from Drive.ai and how the knowledge, technology and people from the startup will be used by Apple. CNBC reported in January that Apple had laid off more than 200 employees at Project Titan, Apple’s secretive project to work on autonomous vehicles. Perhaps the employees of Drive.ai will now join this Apple project.