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Apple buys Drive.ai, showing its autonomous car project is still alive

Mountain View, California-based Drive.ai made kits that turned regular cars into self-driving ones.

Apple buys Drive.ai, showing its autonomous car project is still alive
[Photo: Florian Steciuk/Unsplash]

Axios’s Kevin Waddell and Ina Fried are reporting that Apple will buy Drive.ai for an undisclosed sum. Their story confirms an earlier San Francisco Chronicle article that said Apple was kicking the tires on the autonomous driving company.

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Waddell and Fried report that Mountain View-based Drive.ai, which made kits that turned regular cars into self-driving vehicles, was in the process of going out of business and had been shopping itself around to several potential buyers, including Apple. Apple remained the only interested party in the end. It’s quite a fall for a startup that was valued at $200 million only two years ago.

Apple will reportedly get “dozens” of Drive.ai engineers and product designers in the deal, along with the startup’s autonomous cars and other hard assets. But it’s likely that the main draw for Apple was the talent.

The acquisition is important because news about Apple’s self-driving-car initiative Project Titan has recently been scarce. The last major development came earlier this year when we learned that the project was letting go of 200 people as part of a “restructuring” effort.  The Drive.ai acquisition suggests Project Titan is still breathing and searching out new talent.

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About the author

Fast Company Senior Writer Mark Sullivan covers emerging technology, politics, artificial intelligence, large tech companies, and misinformation. An award-winning San Francisco-based journalist, Sullivan's work has appeared in Wired, Al Jazeera, CNN, ABC News, CNET, and many others.

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