Apple has bought Drive.Ai

Photo: Apple

Photo: Apple

By Nicholas Yekikian

According to a recent report from CNBC, Apple Inc. just purchased Drive.Ai, an autonomous vehicle technologies startup, for an undisclosed amount.

For the better part of the last decade, rumors have swirled that Apple was going to make a foyer into the automotive world, and the tech giant has been seen testing autonomous Lexus SUVs in the Bay Area near the company’s Cupertino headquarters. According to a report by the financial times, Apple had 45 cars on the road in March, but that number could have easily grown since then.

This new deal with Drive.Ai now bolsters the idea that Apple is, in some way, committed to the software behind driverless cars – even if it did cut more than 200 employees from its car project in January this past year. 

While CNBC wasn’t able to confirm how much Apple paid to buy Drive.ai, they did report that the AV company raised $77 million in venture funding and was valued at $200 million.

Apple’s purchase of Drive comes just days before the company would have folded, according to a report from the Verge. The site reported that the company was going to lay off all of its employees, and 90 of those layoffs were slated to happen this Friday.

Apple now has hundreds of Drive employees it can put to work on an autonomous car project, and it will be extremely interesting to see where the company goes from here with all that extra man power. Don’t expect anything soon, though, as most experts believe self-driving cars are years or even decades away. 

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