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Apple has announced the purchase of a self-driving car startup Drive.ai. The self-driving car industry is rising, and is this the plan for Apple to outperform Uber?
On Wednesday, Apple shared its purchase details with Axios and The Verge about the confirmation of purchasing Drive.ai. The rival start up once raised $77 million on its funding round in 2015. Additionally, the company once was worth $200 million, but apparently, in the last year, it has struggled and was on the path of permanent closure. Even more so, last week, the company filed lay off notices with the state Employment Development Department, to lay off 90 employees.
Apparently, Apple saw this as a perfect opportunity to purchase the company. Moreover, the purchase details have not yet been disclosed.
Apple Fires Its Employees, Hires Drive.ai Employees
According to recent news earlier this year, Apple has reportedly fired around 190 employees from its self-driving car project which is dubbed project Titan. But now after acquiring Drive.ai, reports say that they are hiring “dozens” of Drive.ai engineers. It seems rather interesting that Apple saw something in a dying company and its employees. Maybe it’s just that at the verge of dying the company’s value was much lower than maybe a year ago.
Anyway, Drive.ai was started by former members of Stanford University AI lab. According to sources, Drive.ai was testing free ride-hailing service in two cities in Texas. These tests were made just recently, one in March, and the other one ending last month, it seems so weird that the company had to lay off so many employees and that is was soon to face death in terms of the company.
These tests involved an orange Nissan van with blue stripes across, which was branded with logos and large texts on the back, front and sides saying “Self-Driving Vehicle”. It also had monitors on the sides and on the hood, which were meant for short messages to pedestrians.
All-in-all, the car isn’t the most aesthetic one, and surely looks like computers back in the 90’ties.
So is Apple planning a rival move upon Uber?
It is known that Uber has made multiple tests and multiple partnerships, including Volvo and a Seattle startup Mighty AI. Experts still point out that the autonomous driving industry is still a couple of years ahead for society. The numbers vary, but some say that we are from 5-10 years early for this kind of upgrade in the society.
Nevertheless, it’s been a well-stated fact that the autonomous industry now is being occupied by some of the biggest companies in the world, not even looking at the car companies itself.