Jun 25, 2019

Apple acquires self-driving startup Drive.ai

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.

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