Apple Said To Be Eyeing Robotaxi Startup Drive.ai

Posted: Jun 6 2019, 8:31am CDT | by , in Technology News

 

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Apple said to be eyeing robotaxi startup Drive.ai
Photo Credit: Drive.ai

The tech giant revs up for a world outside of iPhones and Macs.

Fresh from its Worldwide Developers Conference, Apple is reportedly considering buying autonomous shuttle startup Drive.ai, a move that is seen as Apple’s latest effort into the self-driving vehicle technology.

The Information reports, citing sources, that the tech giant’s potential move comes as cash-strapped Drive.ai, based in Silicon Valley, has been seeking for buyers of the company since February. The company, which was founded in 2015 by Stanford University researchers, was valued at about $200 million in 2017, according to the news outlet.

Speculations about the potential deal sparked as Apple reportedly hired engineers and managers from Google’s Waymo and electric vehicle pioneer Tesla. Reuters reported in February that Apple has been working on its self-driving program, but has kept details about it confidential.

The Information also reported that Apple has disclosed in 2017 and 2018 that its prototype vehicles drove a combined 80,000 miles on California public roads. Majority of the vehicles reportedly are modified Lexus SUVs.

If confirmed, the deal could result in a number of Drive.ai engineers transferring to Apple, the report said. As of February, the startup had more than 100 engineers.

A spokesperson for Apple told the news outlet that the company does not “comment on speculation,” while a Drive.ai spokesman declined to comment.

An acquisition of Drive.ai could expand Apple’s tech capabilities beyond mobile devices and computers and could give it a boost over Google, which has its own self-driving unit, Waymo. Other rivals include ride-hailing giant Uber, as well as General Motors’ Cruise.

The deal could also redeem Apple from its failed self-driving vehicle effort, called Titan, which did not take off.

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<a href="/latest_stories/all/all/81" rel="author">Mandy Jean</a>
Mandy covers the latest news in Tech and Business.

 

 

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