Apple Buys Self-Driving Car Start-Up
Apple has bought self-driving car start-up Drive.ai. as the company continues to explore the potential market for robotic vehicles under the codename Project Titan.
Project Titan was initially thought to be an initiative to build a self-driving car, but over time, the scope reportedly narrowed to include only the software for the autonomous vehicles, which will likely be licenced to existing automakers moving forward.
The iPhone and Mac maker have confirmed with Axios its acquisition of the start-up, though the price of the buy-out hasn’t been disclosed.
Axios reported that Drive.ai was valued at around $285 million in 2017, but Apple likely paid less than the $110 million it had raised in venture capital, meaning the venture made a net loss to investors.
Apple noted that it has already hired dozens of Drive.ai staffers from the engineering and product design divisions.
Drive.ai operates a fleet of self-driving, on-demand ride-hailing van service in Arlington, Texas, which are modified versions of the Nissan NV200 and operate in a limited area near popular attraction and sport arenas.
According to a report on The Information, Drive.ai has been looking to be acquired since at least February.
Apple has been testing self-driving Lexus vehicles in California but hasn’t publicly clarified whether it is focused on building its own Apple-branded car or software development.
According to MacRumours, Apple analyst Ming-Chi Kuo believes that if the company is working on such a vehicle, it wouldn’t be ready until at least 2023 or 2035.