Apple to Buy Drive.ai Self-Driving Vehicle Firm, Report Says [Update: Apple Confirms]

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Apple might be preparing to buy Drive.ai, a self-driving car startup. According to the report, the Cupertino company is mostly interested in the engineers behind the project.

Apple has provided a statement on the matter, however, it is unusually vague and uncertain. According to the statement, it’s possible that the deal will not go through. The usual response to reports is usually ‘Apple buys smaller technology companies from time to time and we generally do not discuss our purpose or plans’. This time, however, the comment was different.

We don’t comment on speculation.

This might not mean too much, and we might just be looking too deeply into it, but Apple is known for the details. When the details are off, you know something is up with the Cupertino company. We suppose this comment means the two companies are in talks about a potential deal.

The Information carries the report:

Apple is in the process of acquiring a well-known but struggling self-driving shuttle firm, Drive.ai, for its engineering talent in order boost Apple’s own development of a self-driving vehicle system, according to two people briefed about the situation.

The planned deal, described as an “acqui-hire” of the Silicon Valley firm by these people, could result in dozens of Drive.ai engineers ending up at Apple, one of the people said. Drive.ai, which has been running small pilot programs of its prototype shuttles in Texas, began seeking buyers for the company as early as February, as previously reported by The Information.

Even Apple actually buying the firm should not be seen as an indication of Apple being any closer to creating their own car, really. Apple has bought up smaller companies in the past for their sheer workforce and talent alone. This company could have essential engineers that Apple needs for other projects, but we don’t expect Apple to come clear on the matter as transparency has never been their strong merit.

Update: Apple confirmed to Axios that it has acquired Drive.ai and hired dozens of its engineers.