Apple reportedly in process of acquiring self-driving shuttle company Drive.ai

Posted:
in General Discussion edited June 5
Apple is reportedly in the process of acquiring once-promising self-driving shuttle firm Drive.ai in a deal that will bolster the tech giant's own autonomous vehicle initiative with seasoned engineers and segment experts.




Citing people familiar with the matter, The Information reports Apple is structuring the deal as an "acqui-hire," meaning engineers and other key personnel are targets of the buy. As with most Apple acquisitions, the Cupertino company is looking for talent and intellectual property, not brand value.

Apple did not confirm the buy with its usual boilerplate PR response, suggesting negotiations are ongoing.

"We don't comment on speculation," an Apple spokesman said.

Drive.ai was founded in 2015 by graduate students from Stanford University's Artificial Intelligence Lab. Based in Mountain View, Calif., the firm in 2018 launched pilot programs in Texas to test its autonomous shuttle vehicle.

"Drive.ai uses artificial intelligence to create self-driving transportation solutions that improve the state of mobility today," according to its website.

According to the report, Drive.ai raised $77 million from investors including New Enterprise Associates and Nvidia, the latter being a major player in automotive artificial intelligence. The funding rounds were apparently not enough to keep the company independent.

If and when the deal goes through, Apple will gain scores of engineers well-versed in the field of self-driving cars. Drive.ai boasted a roster of more than 100 engineers as of February, included specialists in neural networks, the report said.

Apple's self-driving car project is something of an open secret in Silicon Valley. Initially in development under the "Project Titan" banner, the program sought to create a branded car from the ground up, but Apple scaled back its ambitious goal in late 2016 after hitting a number of snags. The Titan team has since refocused attention to autonomous vehicle subsystems.

Work on Titan is still ongoing and as of April Apple had 69 self-driving test vehicles on California roads. The company is also actively recruiting new talent for the project and recently poached powertrain expert Michael Schwekutsch from Tesla.

Comments

  • Reply 1 of 12
    cornchipcornchip Posts: 1,339member
    Well well well! Smells of P.A. Semi & AuthenTec!
    gregoriusmn2itivguyCarnage
  • Reply 2 of 12
    22july201322july2013 Posts: 716member
    Titan is a planet whose surface is covered with mist and clouds which are impossible to see through. I wonder if that's why Apple chose that code name. 
    fotoformat
  • Reply 3 of 12
    irelandireland Posts: 17,623member
    Titan is a planet whose surface is covered with mist and clouds which are impossible to see through. I wonder if that's why Apple chose that code name. 

    fastasleeptrashman69lkrupp
  • Reply 4 of 12
    apple ][apple ][ Posts: 8,680member
    Titan is a planet whose surface is covered with mist and clouds which are impossible to see through. I wonder if that's why Apple chose that code name. 

    CNBC Titans- Steve Jobs

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=DAzyPLBty6Y

    Steve Jobs (Titans of Business) 

    https://www.amazon.com/Steve-Jobs-Titans-Business-Hunter-ebook/dp/B00O33WLFW
    cornchip
  • Reply 5 of 12
    MacProMacPro Posts: 18,305member
    Maybe this will spur on NVidia drivers for the latest Mac Pro.
  • Reply 6 of 12
    The new Mac Pro comes with wheels.
    Just missing a steering wheel. 
    And Viola - the new apple car...
    cornchip
  • Reply 7 of 12
    lkrupplkrupp Posts: 7,162member
    MacPro said:
    Maybe this will spur on NVidia drivers for the latest Mac Pro.
    From what I’ve read it’s a lot more than drivers. Apple apparently got burned by Nvidia in the past and there’s bad blood on both sides. Also in contention is how Nvidia cards will work with Metal. Since Apple completely controls drivers Nvidia must have its drivers approved by Apple. And therein lies the battle of wills.
    tmayspliff monkey
  • Reply 8 of 12
    From what I understand, producing the self driving tech is relatively straight forward these days but solving all of the edge cases is where the work gets tricky and the 90/90  rule applies. I imagine that without the backing of someone like Alphabet, Apple, or GM, it'd be hard to be a real player. It'll be interesting to see if any of these start ups - like Aurora - can remain independent and if the market long term is made up of automotives and big tech companies or if someone small can be the next Tesla or Apple. 
  • Reply 9 of 12
    gatorguygatorguy Posts: 20,755member
     I imagine that without the backing of someone like Alphabet, Apple, or GM, it'd be hard to be a real player. It'll be interesting to see if any of these start ups - like Aurora - can remain independent and if the market long term is made up of automotives and big tech companies or if someone small can be the next Tesla or Apple. 
    IMO watch for Bezos to be named if there's noise about an Aurora buyout.
    Carnage
  • Reply 10 of 12
    MacProMacPro Posts: 18,305member
    lkrupp said:
    MacPro said:
    Maybe this will spur on NVidia drivers for the latest Mac Pro.
    From what I’ve read it’s a lot more than drivers. Apple apparently got burned by Nvidia in the past and there’s bad blood on both sides. Also in contention is how Nvidia cards will work with Metal. Since Apple completely controls drivers Nvidia must have its drivers approved by Apple. And therein lies the battle of wills.
    I am sure we both lived through the history of the bad blood, I remember it well.  That said, Apple work with Samsung. lol.  An upgradeable Mac Pro limited to a single manufacturer's GPU seems counter-intuitive.  Obviously, Nvidia would need to address Metal and Apple would have to address NVidia's AI and CUDA technology.  These efforts seem worthwhile on the face of it.  There could be a lot of architects interested in a CUDA capable Mac Pro. That all said, of course, Apple could be well down the road of their own GPU and this team may be helpful in that regard as well as Car AI. 
    edited June 6
  • Reply 11 of 12
    Titan is a planet whose surface is covered with mist and clouds which are impossible to see through. I wonder if that's why Apple chose that code name. 
    Typically project names like that are mythological in origin.  Even the moon you're referencing is named from Greek mythology.  Funny thing, the planet that Titan cirlces is Saturn which is Roman Mythology.  All the other moons of Saturn have Greek names as well.  Anywho, I'd guess Project Titan is a reference to the Titans of mythology.

    edit: I do realize you were making a funny with your suggestion.  tee hee.
    edited June 6
  • Reply 12 of 12
    SpamSandwichSpamSandwich Posts: 31,195member
    Titan is a planet whose surface is covered with mist and clouds which are impossible to see through. I wonder if that's why Apple chose that code name. 
    Something something Thanos.
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