Apple buys autonomous car startup Drive.ai

The tech company is vying against rivals such as Alphabet's Waymo to develop self-driving vehicles

26 June 2019 - 11:28 By Reuters
Apple on Tuesday confirmed that it had acquired self-driving shuttle firm Drive.ai.
Apple on Tuesday confirmed that it had acquired self-driving shuttle firm Drive.ai.
Image: tktktk/123rf

Apple on Tuesday confirmed that it had acquired self-driving shuttle firm Drive.ai.

Technology news website The Information reported earlier this month that the iPhone maker was considering acquiring the firm as a move to bring aboard some of its engineering talent to boost Apple's own self-driving efforts.

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One of hundreds of startups pursuing the development of autonomous vehicles, Drive.ai had been running a small fleet of test shuttles in Texas, The Information reported. But the startup told California regulators that it planned to lay off 90 people in a permanent closure, The San Francisco Chronicle reported.

In Silicon Valley, it is common for larger companies to acquire struggling startups primarily to hire their engineers, a move known in the industry as an "acqui-hire".

Apple is vying against rivals such as Alphabet's Waymo to develop self-driving vehicles. In the past year, Apple has revamped its efforts, bringing in former Tesla engineering chief Doug Field to oversee the operation, which includes more than 5,000 workers.

Apple is also working on key components such as sensors, in addition to holding talks with potential suppliers.


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