Established in 2015 through Stanford University's Artificial Intelligence Lab, Drive.ai is a self-driving shuttle service that uses artificial intelligence (AI) to make self-driving systems for cars. The company emerged from stealth mode in 2016 and last year announced that it would be releasing an on-demand self-driving passenger carrying car service in Frisco, Texas - the first public deployment of self-driving cars in Texas - and later in Arlington, Texas.
Apple has repeatedly shown interest in the automotive market. In 2013 it reportedly made a bid to buy Tesla. In April, Reuters reported that it was in talks with at least four suppliers for a revolutionary LIDAR system for self-driving vehicles.
Apple has been developing autonomous vehicle technology as part of its Project Titan, and has been testing vehicles on the road. Earlier this year, however, the tech giant reportedly dismissed more than 200 employees from the autonomous vehicle group.
If Apple does acquire Drive.ai, it would stand to gain the startup's autonomous vehicle engineering resources, which includes as many as 100 engineers. For its part, Drive.ai has reportedly been struggling and seeking potential buyers.
The startup has raised $77 million and was valued around $200 million in 2017, according to reports. In March, the company ended its self-driving service in Frisco, Texas, electing to focus on its on-demand autonomous service in Arlington where three of its vehicles have been operaing since last October.
Apple and Drive.ai have not commented on the reports.
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