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Apple arrives in nick of time, drives autonomous car startup back from edge

Apple arrives in nick of time, drives autonomous car startup back from edge
Photo Credit: VCCircle

Five months after slashing around two hundred jobs from its self-driving car project, iPhone maker Apple told news portal Axios it has acquired Drive.ai, an autonomous driving startup based in California that had stopped operations within the last 2 weeks. Drive.ai, founded in 2015 by artificial intelligence (AI) researchers from Stanford University, had been running a passenger service with its self-driving shuttles in Texas.

The deal comes in the nick of time as the startup had just filed a notice to shut down permanently and lay off 90 employees, as reported by the San Francisco Chronicle.

Drive.ai, which was valued at around $200 million two years ago, is likely to have been bought for less than $77 million, making the venture a net loss to investors, Axios said.

Apple has also made hires mostly from the engineering and product design departments of the struggling company, a person in the know told Axios.

According to Axios, Drive.ai had talked with several other potential acquirers.

Apple in news

  • June: Apple had made a slew of announcements for enterprise users at its annual Worldwide Developer Conference that took place in California. The announcements range from new tools for machine learning and augmented reality, to previewing the latest version of the iOS.
  • May: The company said that its tweaked strategy to tackle sales slowdown in India had started showing preliminary results.
  • April: Contract manufacturer Foxconn started production of high-end iPhones at its Chennai plant. Apple has been making low-end iPhone at Wistron’s plant in Bengaluru since 2017.  
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