Apple confirmed Axios to acquire self-driving startup – Drive.ai that was once valued at $200 million and was supposedly closing its doors and laying off all its staff. According to reports, Apple has reportedly hired dozens of Drive.ai’s engineers and taken ownership of the startup’s autonomous cars and other assets as part of the acquisition.
Drive.ai was founded in 2015 and gained recognition in the tech community for making retrofit kits that could transform a traditional vehicle into an autonomous one. The kits use camera-based and LIDAR sensors, as well as a self-driving software stack grounded in deep learning.
Three weeks ago, Apple was said to be in talks to buy Drive.ai, by machine learning researchers from Stanford University and had been running a ride-hailing service with its autonomous shuttles in Texas. The deal could have resulted in dozens of Drive.ai engineers joining the tech giant’s secretive Project Titan, which has gone through its struggles.
If the Drive.ai acquisition goes through, Apple stands to gain dozens of engineers from the firm, according to The Information. Drive.ai has raised $77 million and was valued around $200 million two years ago. It’s not clear just how much of Drive.ai will survive at Apple, or whether the startup’s mass layoffs will proceed.