Apple acquires autonomous shuttle firm – report06/28/2019
Tech giant Apple confirmed to Reuters that it has acquired self-driving shuttle company, Drive.ai as the former continues to scoop up autonomous vehicle expertise for the development of its own self-driving vehicles.
Drive.ai had been running a fleet of test shuttles in Texas, United States, the news wire quoted The Information as saying, however the firm had told California regulators that a permanent closure is planned, and 90 people to be laid off as a result, according to The San Francisco Chronicle.
Apple has been revamping its manpower for its autonomous vehicle development work, with former Tesla engineer Doug Field now overseeing the tech company’s operation which is currently comprised of more than 5,000 staff. Apple also goes up against traditional tech rival Alphabet, parent company of Google via Waymo which recently entered into an exclusive agreement with Groupe Renault and Nissan.
The move to acquire start-ups – usually struggling ones – for their talent is known in tech circles as an ‘acqui-hire’, though it was unclear if all 90 expected layoffs from the Drive.ai closure will be re-hired by Apple, which had gone through rounds of its own Project Titan staff layoffs most recently in January. Apple is also currently in talks with potential suppliers for for key components, such as sensors.
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