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A Drive.ai van in Frisco, Tex. Photo: Kaveh Waddell/Axios

Apple bought Drive.ai, an autonomous driving startup once valued at $200 million, and has hired dozens of Drive.ai engineers, Apple confirmed to Axios on Tuesday.

Why it matters: The deal and hires confirm that Apple hasn't given up its autonomous driving project.

Details: The deal comes after Drive.ai talked with multiple potential acquirers, but in the end Apple won out. Apple also purchased Drive.ai's autonomous cars and other assets, sources tell Axios.

  • Drive.ai ceased operations within the last 2 weeks.
  • Apple’s hires are mostly in engineering and product design, per a source.

The purchase price was not disclosed. Apple was expected to pay less than the $77 million Drive.ai raised in venture capital, to say nothing of the $200 million it was valued at two years ago, after its Series B round, Axios' Dan Primack reported recently.

The backdrop: Drive.ai's highlighter-orange vans ferried workers around a business park in Frisco, Tex., and shuttled fans in nearby Arlington to Cowboys games.

Drive.ai is laying off 90 workers in California, the San Francisco Chronicle reported. And the company employed many more in Texas.

Go deeper

Ina Fried, author of Login
47 mins ago - Technology

CES was largely irrelevant this year

Illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios

Forced online by the pandemic and overshadowed by the attack on the Capitol, the 2021 edition of CES was mostly an afterthought as media's attention focused elsewhere.

Why it matters: The consumer electronics trade show is the cornerstone event for the Consumer Technology Association and Las Vegas has been the traditional early-January gathering place for the tech industry.

The FBI is tracing a digital trail to Capitol rioters

Illustration: Sarah Grillo

Capitol rioters, eager to share proof of their efforts with other extremists online, have so far left a digital footprint of at least 140,000 images that is making it easier for federal law enforcement officials to capture and arrest them.

The big picture: Law enforcement's use of digital tracing isn't new, and has long been at the center of fierce battles over privacy and civil liberties. The Capitol siege is opening a fresh front in that debate.

Off the Rails

Episode 6: Last stand in Georgia

Photo illustration: Aïda Amer/Axios. Photo: Drew Angerer, Raymond Boyd/Getty Images

Beginning on election night 2020 and continuing through his final days in office, Donald Trump unraveled and dragged America with him, to the point that his followers sacked the U.S. Capitol with two weeks left in his term. Axios takes you inside the collapse of a president with a special series.

Episode 6: Georgia had not backed a Democratic presidential candidate since 1992 and Donald Trump's defeat in this Deep South stronghold, and his reaction to that loss, would help cost Republicans the U.S. Senate as well. Georgia was Trump's last stand.

On Air Force One, President Trump was in a mood. He had been clear he did not want to return to Georgia, and yet somehow he'd been conscripted into another rally on the night of Jan. 4.