Report: Apple acquiring Drive.ai self-driving tech knowledge

It appears Apple is ready to, or in the process of, making a substantial acquisition. A new report claims the California-based tech giant is either buying the self-driving car startup Drive.ai or acquiring its talent.

The news comes from The Information (subscription required), which said on Wednesday Apple is looking to execute an “acqui-hire” of the company. Basically, Apple is looking to simply purchase the talent inside of the company, perhaps not the company itself or its self-driving car infrastructure or hardware.

Drive.AI self-driving car in Arlington, Texas

Drive.AI self-driving car in Arlington, Texas

Drive.ai has operated in Texas since 2018 after starting up in 2016 as a team of graduates from Stanford. Most recently, the company expanded its presence in Arlington, Texas, and began offering self-driving car shuttles between the Dallas Cowboys’ stadium, an office complex, the city’s convention center, the Texas Rangers’ ballpark, and the University of Texas at Arlington. The Nissan NV200 vans operate with Level 4 capability, which can drive the car by itself in most instances but may need the driver to take over.

The expansion’s goal was to put Drive.ai vehicles in new environments to help the self-driving technology learn more quickly. A human safety driver is onboard at all times in the company’s vehicles. Rather than simply develop new self-driving vehicle technology, Drive.ai also began to focus on outfitting current commercial vehicles with autonomous car technology.

Drive.AI self-driving car in Arlington, Texas

Drive.AI self-driving car in Arlington, Texas

Despite the peachy outlook, The Information reported that Drive.ai began looking for a buyer earlier this year as it became more difficult to secure funding. Cashing out to Apple may be the company’s best shot at some sort of survival. Apple continues to quietly pursue automotive-related fields with patents for self-driving cars and electric vehicles. It also still tests vehicle technology regularly, but the company’s “Project Titan” self-driving project remains a mystery at best.

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