Apple aquires self-driving car startup Drive.ai

Drive.ai was first founded in 2015 by a group of Stanford University students. Drive.ai is a self-driving startup and was once valued at $200 million but it was supposedly closing and now Apple has confirmed to Axios that it has acquired Drive.ai.

Apple’s Drive.ai acquisition confirms that work on the Apple Car project is still underway. Apple back in February laid off 190 employees in its self-driving car division as a part of restructuring efforts.

In a regulatory filing, Drive.ai general counsel Thomas Yih wrote that the startup will finally close its offices on Friday, cutting its CEO and other executives in the process. However, in that same filing with California regulators, however, Drive.ai said that its situation could change – leaving the door open for a possible acquisition:

Drive.ai plans to close its Mountain View office by Friday. The cuts include chief executive officer, Bijit Halder, and its directors of finance and robotics, a company official said in a June 12 letter sent to California’s Employment Development Department.

The notice said the company’s situation could change “due to subsequent events beyond Drive.ai’s control or current knowledge,” wrote Thomas Yih, the company’s general counsel. Yih did not respond to a request for comment.

It’s not clear just how much of Drive.ai will survive at Apple, or whether the startup’s mass layoffs will proceed as scheduled this Friday. According to Axios’ sources, “Apple purchased the company’s assets, including its autonomous cars, but both Axios and the San Francisco Chronicle suggest that Apple chose to hire engineers away from Drive.ai directly. Other workers may not be coming along for the ride.”

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