Apple Purchases Self-Driving Car Company Drive.ai

The tech giant Apple has recently bought Drive.ai, a Californian based start-up that specialises in managing driverless cars, showing that they do not want to be left behind when it comes to innovation in AI for vehicles.

The purchase, verified by an Apple spokeswoman, arrives after the self-governing automobile firm dismissed 90 Californian employees including engineers and senior positions. The notices for layoff were given a week ago to be made valid by June 28, as said by a filing with the state Employment Development Department.

Drive.ai is a technology company headquartered in Mountain View, California that uses AI to make self-driving systems for cars.

Drive.ai is a technology company headquartered in Mountain View, California that uses AI to make self-driving systems for cars.

Apple has not been willing to offer any other information, including the price of the purchase. Drive.ai, which was claimed by Crunchbase to have raised $77 million since its 2015 founding, was reportedly worth £160 million at its height. Its investors included HOF Capital, GGV Capital, Grab Taxi, Maniv Mobility, InnoSpring, Oriza Ventures, Northern Light Venture Capital and New Enterprise Associates.

Founded by previous partners from Stanford University’s Artificial Intelligence Laboratory, Drive.ai was developing a programme that implements deep learning and AI to provide cost-effective autonomous vehicle systems. The firm maintained that its “deep learning-first approach” allowed its self-driving vehicles to quickly deduce new driving situations and pathways “without tedious engineering effort,” so that it could scale out more simply to new areas.

One expert from Wedbush Securities forecast that Apple’s decision could be the beginning of more integration within the autonomous car sector, with bigger corporations acquiring smaller ones.

Self-driving is five to seven years away from monetization and regulatory will be a big issue.
— Dan Ives, Wedbush Securities

Apple, which at the start of the year cut 190 workers from its self-driving group named “Project Titan” , is reported to have employed “dozens” of Drive.ai researchers and engineers.