Their story confirms an earlier San Francisco Chronicle article that said Apple was kicking the tires on the autonomous driving company. A number of reports began circulating that the proposed deal had fallen through, but Apple confirmed the acquisition late Tuesday. At its peak, the autonomous driving startup was valued at $200 million.
According to MacRumours, Apple analyst Ming-Chi Kuo believes that if the company is working on such a vehicle, it wouldn't be ready until at least 2023 or 2035.
Technology news website The Information reported earlier this month that the iPhone maker was considering acquiring the firm as a move to bring aboard some of its engineering talent to boost Apple's own self-driving efforts. It's thought the price paid was less than the $77 million Drive.ai managed to raise through venture capital since its founding in 2016.
Drive.ai was founded in 2015 by a team of machine-learning researchers at Stamford University. The cars have autonomous capabilities, but there is a safety driver behind the wheel. Among them, Drive.ai has a small fleet of test shuttles in Texas.
Apple has had quite an on and off relationship with its autonomous vehicles efforts. As of March 2018, Apple had 45 registered autonomous test vehicles with the Department of Motor Vehicles in California.
But to date, being part of FAANG seems an indicator of both past and future success - there hasn't been a lot of pushback against, say, Amazon's e-commerce eclipse, or Apple's front-running operating systems.
It is not clear as yet exactly what the terms of the deal are and how many people from the company will join Apple.