Published: Fri, June 28, 2019
Tech | By Constance Martin

Apple Buys Self-Driving Car Startup Drive.ai

Apple Buys Self-Driving Car Startup Drive.ai

Now, Apple now confirmed to Axios that it has acquired the struggling startup. It appears the tech company has continued to focus on autonomous driving, potentially setting itself up as a competitor to Waymo, the Google spin-off that recently launched a self-driving ride-sharing service, Waymo One, in the Phoenix area.

Apple has purchased autonomous vehicle startup Drive.ai for undisclosed amount, according to reports. Drive.ai had raised $77 million in venture funding at a $200 million valuation, according to Pitchbook data.

Drive.ai was founded in 2015 by machine learning researchers at Stanford University and is among the more exciting autonomous driving startups, according to The Verge.

Some close to the deal have suggested that the Drive.ai acquisition was more of an acquisition of talent as Apple pursues its own autonomous efforts.

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Drive.AI is now running a fleet of autonomous vans in Arlington and Frisco, Texas, with the test vehicles having fixed pick-up and drop-off locations. It was the first time autonomous vehicles were tested on public roads without human safety drivers onboard.

It seems that Apple is quite serious about bringing its own autonomous vehicle to the market. Apple said these people were not fired but were re-assigned to other autonomous teams within Apple.

Although not mentioned specifically, it is believed that the new hires will be working on Project Titan, Apple's long-running autonomous vehicle research project. While in the past, Apple had exclusively focused on developing the software while continuing to partner with vehicle manufacturers to get the hardware, this deal might put Apple in a stronger foot in terms of both software and hardware.

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