5 Jul 19

Apple buys struggling Drive.ai

Apple has acquired Drive.ai, a struggling self-drive startup once valued at $200 million. Founded in 2015 by machine-learning researches from Stanford University, Drive.ai had been running a ride-hailing service with its self-driving shuttles in Texas. Until a year ago, Drive.ai seemed like one of the more promising autonomous-vehicle startups, because of its specialisation in using deep learning to help cars recognise and avoid road obstacles. 

But the company, based in Mountain View (California), was on the verge of filing for bankruptcy when the deal with Apple was announced. As it's becoming clear that full autonomy may still be many years away, the autonomous-vehicle landscape – dotted with countless startups – is beginning to consolidate, due to funding for smaller companies drying up and larger companies actively seeking out partnerships and/or acquisitions. Apple has acquired all of the Drive.ai's assets, but it's as yet unclear how many of the company's staff will still have jobs, post acquisition. 

Authored by: Frank Jacobs