Apple Buys Self-Driving Car Startup Drive.ai

Drive.ai had been running a small fleet of test shuttles in Texas, US.

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Apple Buys Self-Driving Car Startup Drive.ai

Apple on Tuesday confirmed that it has acquired self-driving shuttle firm Drive.ai. The Cupertino, California-based company did not share any specifics of the deal. 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 former Tesla engineering chief Doug Field to oversee the operation, which includes more than 5,000 workers.

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.

One of hundreds of startups pursuing 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 plans to lay off 90 people in a permanent closure. The San Francisco Chronicle earlier reported the closure.

“Five former Drive.ai employees have changed their LinkedIn profiles to say they left Drive.ai in June and joined Apple the same month. Four of those workers list “special projects” in their job titles. Those employees include data, systems and software engineers,” San Francisco Chronicle wrote.

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

Written with inputs from Reuters

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