In a bid to push its autonomous car project Titan, Apple is reportedly buying a start-up Drive.ai in a “small deal, which brings more engineers with experience in autonomous vehicle technology to the iPhone maker.”
This information is shared with Bloomberg by people familiar to the matter. It is also not clear the cost of acqui-hire. Notably, Drive.ai has raised around $77 million in funding since it was founded in 2015. In 2017, the start-up was valued at $200 million, according to Pitchbook data.
Apple Plans to Take Control Over Drive.ai’s Talent
As per industry experts, Apple took over this tech start-up to take control of its talent. The Cupertino-based company may not hire all the employees of Drive.ai, rather a select few. Apple is not willing to control the intellectual property of the start-up.
Since it is a private matter, people, who responded to Bloomberg, did not disclose their identities. Neither Apple nor Drive.ai responded to Bloomberg’s request for comment.
Gene Munster, a veteran Apple analyst at Loup Ventures, wrote in a research note, “We believe the potential acquisition price would be below their last $200M valuation.”
Lack of funds crippled the growth of Drive.ai, which has been for sale for a while. The start-up has a limited number of pilot tests. As per VentureBeat reports published in March, Frisco in Texas didn’t renew its contract on the grounds of high costs.
Apple’s driverless vehicle technology is more potent than Drive.ai’s, and therefore, Apple may pick up a select few specialists from the start-up.
For the last many years, Apple has been working on Project Titan – an autonomous car. After facing a few ups and downs, Apple laid off around 200 employees from this project.
Gene Munster believes, “Apple’s primary ambitions in autonomy lie in the broad application of autonomous systems and related services.”
Munster added, “Their potential acquisition of Drive.ai would bring a new crop of engineering talent to aid in these efforts, but we do not expect a consumer product or service from Apple for 4+ years.”
That’s all, friends!
Apple seems to be serious about its ambitious Project Titan. There is a reason why Apple is putting stress on this project. After Apple Watch, there isn’t any innovative product from the company. AirPods are accessories and not the product; for Apple, it is essential to keep the expectations of consumers and investors high.
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