Data Science Investment Counter —Funding raised by UK data science companies in 2018.
£ 5.640 Million

Apple buys self-driving startup Drive.ai days before shutdown

Autonomous vehicle startup Drive.ai is shutting down after raising more than $77 million in the past four years, according to a state regulatory filing.

The news was firstly announced by the San Francisco Chronicle on Tuesday, and as mentioned in the WARN documents filed with the Employment Development Department of California, Drive.ai will close down their Mountain View headquarters on Friday.

Shortly after the closure was announced, Apple revealed they hired dozens of hardware and software engineers from Drive.ai in the past few weeks. The move would be part of the tech giant’s strategy to branch out into self-driving cars.

According to CrunchBase, the official acquisition date was June 6.

Drive.ai was created in 2015  by graduate students working in the Stanford University’s  Artificial Intelligence Lab run by Andrew Ng.

The company originally focused on self-driving software systems and intelligent communications systems and it received both attention and investment in their first years. It was last valued at $200 million in 2017.

Drive.ai later expanded even further by tweaking its business model combining deep learning software with hardware to make self-driving kits designed for business and commercial fleets.

The startup grew even further in 2017 and 2018. Last year it launched a pilot program in Frisco, Texas to trial an on-demand service using self-driving vans.

The vans operated with safety drivers aboard, but Drive.ai was planning to remove humans from the loop by the end of 2021.

The company’s service was paid for by the City of Arlington and the US federal government.

Following the news of Drive.ai ‘s closure, the city requested that the trial ended early, and a spokeswoman for the city confirmed to the Chronicle that Drive.ai’s vans dropped off their last passengers on May 31.

Image via Wikipedia and publicdomainpictures.net.

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