Technology giant Apple confirmed that it has acquired Drive.AI start up, a self-driving firm that runs a small fleet of test shuttles in Texas.
News of Apple being interested in buying Drive.AI surfaced earlier this month, with the company interested in bringing aboard some of its engineering talent in order to boost their own self-driving efforts.
Reuters reports that Drive.AI was struggling, telling California regulators that it was planning to lay off 90 people. Apple buying Drive.AI in this state is a common move for Silicon Valley, where larger companies acquire smaller start ups mainly to hire their engineers.
Drive.AI is currently running a fleet of autonomous vans in Arlington and Frisco, Texas, with the test vehicles having fixed pick-up and drop-off locations. No information on how much money Apple paid for Drive.AI was released.
Last year Apple has reportedly revamped its efforts in the development of autonomous driving technologies, hiring former Tesla engineering chief Doug Field to oversee more than 5,000 workers on the project.
Back in January, Apple cut 200 employees from the program. A company spokesperson said back then: “We have an incredibly talented team working on autonomous systems and associated technologies at Apple. As the team focuses their work on several key areas for 2019, some groups are being moved to projects in other parts of the company, where they will support machine learning and other initiatives, across all of Apple”.
Apple’s self-driving department is also busy with developing key components, such as sensors, in addition to scouting for potential suppliers.