Earlier this week, Axios reported that Apple bought the self-driving car startup Drive.ai for an undisclosed amount of money, kicking off rumors about the Mac Makers’ plans to hit the roads.
Is it interesting that Apple is investing even more money in self-driving than it already has? Yes. Does it mean that iCars will hit the road anytime soon? Almost definitely no.
The Drive.ai acquisition was a fire sale
Drive.ai, which had been valued as high as $200m, was autonomously driving straight for the edge of a cliff before Apple volunteered to take the wheel.
The self-driving startup had already notified California regulators that it planned to lay off 90 employees and shut down operations at the end of June — which means Apple bought the floundering company days before it would have evaporated anyway.
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The acquisition was an opportunistic move for Apple, which likely paid less for the struggling Drive.ai than the $77m the startup had raised in funding.
Apple will hire dozens of Drive.ai’s self-driving engineers for its own secretive self-driving car program, “Project Titan,” which has been reported to have downsized in the past… but evidently still exists.