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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

8 hours ago - World

Maximum pressure campaign escalates with Fakhrizadeh killing

Photo: Fars News Agency via AP

The assassination of Mohsen Fakhrizadeh, the architect of Iran’s military nuclear program, is a new height in the maximum pressure campaign led by the Trump administration and the Netanyahu government against Iran.

Why it matters: It exceeds the capture of the Iranian nuclear archives by the Mossad, and the sabotage in the advanced centrifuge facility in Natanz.

Scoop: Biden weighs retired General Lloyd Austin for Pentagon chief

Lloyd Austin testifying before Congress in 2015. Photo: Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images

Joe Biden is considering retired four-star General Lloyd Austin as his nominee for defense secretary, adding him to a shortlist that includes Jeh Johnson, Tammy Duckworth and Michele Flournoy, two sources with direct knowledge of the decision-making tell Axios.

Why it matters: A nominee for Pentagon chief was noticeably absent when the president-elect rolled out his national security team Tuesday. Flournoy had been widely seen as the likely pick, but Axios is told other factors — race, experience, Biden's comfort level — have come into play.

Updated 9 hours ago - Politics & Policy

Coronavirus dashboard

Illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios

  1. Health: WHO: AstraZeneca vaccine must be evaluated on "more than a press release."
  2. Politics: Supreme Court backs religious groups on New York COVID restrictions.
  3. World: Thailand, Philippines sign deal with AstraZeneca for vaccine.
  4. Economy: Safety nets to disappear in December Black Friday shopping across the U.S., in photosAmazon hires 1,400 workers a day throughout pandemic.
  5. Education: National standardized tests delayed until 2022.