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TechnologyApple reportedly acquires self-driving startup Drive.ai

10:45  26 june  2019
10:45  26 june  2019 Source:   cnet.com

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Apple is potentially seeking to acquire Silicon Valley autonomous driving startup Drive . ai , according to a new report from The Information. Drive . ai got its start in 2016, founded by a crack team of graduates from Stanford’s AI lab. It focused originally on building out not only the functional autonomy

Apple is in the process of acquiring self - driving vehicle startup Drive . ai in order to boost its own development of a self - driving vehicle system The acquisition could reportedly result in dozens of Drive . ai engineers ending up at Apple , where they would likely work on autonomous driving systems.

Apple reportedly acquires self-driving startup Drive.ai© CNET

Drive.ai hit the streets of Arlington, Texas, last year.

Apple has reportedly acquired autonomous driving startup Drive.ai in an effort to bolster its self-driving car ambitions. The iPhone maker has hired dozens of Drive.ai's engineers and taken possession of the company's cars and other acquisitions as part of the deal, Axios reported Tuesday.

The startup -- once valued at more than $200 million -- shut down its operations in mid-June, according to a California regulatory filing (PDF). Axios said Apple confirmed the acquisition, but the site didn't report terms of the deal.

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Drive . ai has operated in Texas since 2018 after starting up as a team of graduates from Stanford. Most recently, the company expanded its presence Apple has largely kept its plans for self - driving cars and other car technology under wraps as rivals like Alphabet’s Waymo and Uber have begun

Apple is reportedly mulling a purchase of self - driving car startup Drive . ai in an ‘acqui-hire’ deal to grab its talent. Drive . ai is full of skilled personnel after being founded in 2016 Acquiring talent from Drive . ai is a surefire way of boosting Apple ’s in-house expertise in applying machine learning to cars.

The deal suggests that Apple hasn't abandoned its Project Titan self-driving car program. Apple reportedly cut more than 200 employees from the secretive program in January.

The Mountain View, California-based company launched in 2015, developing a retrofit kit to add autonomous driving systems to existing cars.

Last July, Drive.ai launched its first self-driving shuttle service in Frisco, Texas. The free program relied on Drive.ai's new app, which allowed its users to hail a ride in one of Drive.ai's self-driving vans.

Drive.ai's vans were a little different than the ones with Waymo livery, including box-shaped outcroppings on each side that let people around the vehicle know what's going on, whether it's idling at a crosswalk as someone passes or parked on the side of the road waiting on a customer.

Drive.ai engineered its pilot program with the help of Frisco's local transit authority, spending a great deal of time preparing the cars themselves. The company spent four months traveling every inch of its geo-fenced route, including parking lots.

Apple didn't immediately respond to a request for comment.

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