The Rumor of Apple Acquiring drive.ai earlier this Month was Officially Confirmed by Apple Last Night
On June 6th Patently Apple posted a detailed report titled "Apple is Reportedly in the Process of Acquiring an Autonomous Vehicle Startup for its Highly Skilled AI Engineering Team." The report provided a video of the companies autonomous driving kit for vehicle fleets and an introduction to the company, co-founder and President of drive.ai.
The San Francisco Chronicle reported late last night that Apple had officially acquired Mountain View self-driving startup drive.ai that informed state officials that it planned to close its business and lay off 90 workers by Friday in a permanent closure of its business. A spokeswoman from Apple confirmed that Apple had purchased the company outright but did not answer other questions about the deal.
The report noted that "In a June 12 letter to the Employment Development Department outlining the planned closure and layoffs, Thomas Yih, Drive.ai’s general counsel, wrote that the company’s situation could change 'due to subsequent events beyond drive.ai’s control or current knowledge."
The report further noted that "Five former drive.ai employees had already changed their LinkedIn profiles to say they left Drive.ai in June and joined Apple the same month. Four of those workers list 'special projects' in their job titles. Those employees include data, systems and software engineers.
In 2017, Drive.ai said it would provide Lyft with robot taxis, with Drive.ai test engineers at the wheel. The program was expected to start in the Bay Area soon after the September announcement, but it’s unclear if the program got off the ground.
Drive.ai raised $77 million from GGV Capital, New Enterprise Associates, the corporate venture arm of Nvidia and others since its founding in 2015.
Its most recent funding round was in September 2017, led by one of Asia’s biggest ride-hailing companies, Grab. At the time, Drive.ai said it planned to open an office in Singapore and offer its services there. You could read more about this story here.
Below are videos that first appeared in our June 6th report on Apple acquiring drive.ai
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