WHILE APPLE MAY be preoccupied with the day-to-day fun of iPhones, iPads and Macs, it hasn't lost track of plans to one day get you from A to B without you needing to steer. The company still has plans in the driverless car space, and it's reportedly taking another small step towards that goal today with another timely acquisition.
Bloomberg reports that Apple is set to buy Drive.ai, but apparently it doesn't want the company's vehicles or intellectual property. Rather, it's a so-called acqui-hire, where Apple takes on the startup in order to get access to the pool of engineering knowhow, rather than the product itself.
Indeed one source suggested that there "may only be a handful" of specialists at the company who can help, given Apple is further down the road - pun absolutely intended - towards the safe, reliable autonomous driving dream than Drive.ai is.
That makes things considerably more confusing as moves go, given it was just four months ago that Apple decided to lay off nearly 200 of its self-driving car employees. Clearly priorities have changed, once again, although if you were a Drive.ai employee preparing to make the move across to Apple, you might want to keep your CV up to date, just to be on the safe side.
Still, said employees probably weren't hugely secure with their old employer in any case. Drive.ai has been up for sale for some time, and it's apparently struggled to gain traction on its own. It has a number of pilot tests in place, but one of them in Frisco, Texas will not be renewed after the city said it simply cost too much.
Should feel right at home as part of Apple's portfolio, then. µ
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