Apple Inc confirmed Tuesday that it has Acquired autonomous transportation company Drive.ai.
Technology news website Information reported earlier this month that the iPhone maker was considering acquiring the firm as a move to bring in some of its engineering talents to fuel Apple’s own self-driving efforts.
One of hundreds of startups chasing autonomous vehicles, Drive.ai had been running a small fleet of test shuttles in Texas, Information reported.But the startup told California regulators it plans to lay off 90 people in a permanent shutdown. the San Francisco Chronicle He previously reported the closure.
In Silicon Valley, it’s common for larger companies to acquire troubled startups primarily to hire their engineers, a move known in the industry as a “contractor.”
Apple is competing against rivals like Alphabet Inc’s Waymo Develop self-driving vehicles. In the past year, Apple has renewed its efforts and brought in former Tesla Inc. chief engineer Doug Field to oversee the operation, which includes more than 5,000 workers.
Apple is also working on key components, such as sensors, in addition to holding discussions with potential vendors.
Recently, Apple had shelved 200 of its employees work in the self-driving vehicle group., known internally as Project Titan. The layoffs were viewed, internally, as an anticipated restructuring under the relatively new leadership of Project Titan, CNBC said.
“As the team focuses its work on several key areas for 2019, some groups are moving to projects in other parts of the company, where they will support machine learning and other initiatives across Apple,” the company said in a statement. .
According to veteran Apple analyst Gene Munster, Apple’s ambitions in the autonomous vehicle space are based on the broader application of autonomous systems and related services, rather than making an autonomous vehicle per se.
With inputs from Reuters
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