Note: This story was updated on June 26 post-publication after news broke that Apple had purchased the company.
On Tuesday, we reported that Drive.ai was shutting down after the autonomous vehicle startup notified the state it would be laying off its 90 employees later this week, as first reported by the San Francisco Chronicle.
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Now it appears that the company’s assets have been purchased by Apple for an undisclosed sum, according to Axios and The Verge. It’s not new news that Apple was interested in the company, as that had been reported on previously. But it was unclear yesterday what was going on with that deal considering Drive.ai was seemingly planning to shut down.
According to Axios, Apple “has hired dozens of Drive.ai engineers” as part of the acquisition.
Founded in 2015 by a group from Stanford’s AI lab, Drive.ai had made a name for itself in the self-driving vehicle space with its AI-powered software.
The company’s most recent round, a $15 million capital injection from Singapore-based ridesharing giant Grab in September 2017, boosted the company’s international efforts. Prior to that round the company picked up a $50 million Series B led by New Enterprise Associates. Previous investors in the company also include GGV Capital, Northern Light Venture Capital, and HOF Capital, among others. The Mountain View-based company had raised a known total of $77 million over its lifetime and was valued at $200 million in 2017, according to the Chronicle.
Last July, Drive.ai had launched its first fleet of autonomous vehicles in Frisco, Texas, near Dallas.
Illustration: Li-Anne Dias.
Disclosure: Mary Ann Azevedo’s husband works for Apple in the Austin office.
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