It’s not uncommon to hear that Apple has acquired a company, especially when it comes to start-ups that Apple may be interested in. In most of those cases, Apple has a canned response that basically confirms an acquisition without actually coming out and saying it. That hasn’t happened this time, though, as a new rumor crops up suggesting Apple has bought a self-driving startup.
According to a report from The Information, Apple has recently undergone the acquisition process of a self-driving startup called Drive.ai. Specifically, this report, based on information gathered by unnamed sources, is what’s called an “acqui-hire”. That means that while Apple is not buying up the entire company itself, it is picking up the talent therein.
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.
Apple’s standard statement in a situation like this boils down to, “Apple buys companies often, we don’t comment on our plans”. It’s not a confirmation that an acquisition has actually happened, but it’s also not a denial, either. It’s a solid middle-of-the-road statement.
Apple didn’t go that route this time. Instead, it kept things matter-of-fact, as far as speculation is concerned. Apple’s statement:
We don’t comment on speculation
Not a confirmation, but not necessarily an outright denial, either. One could argue that it’s simply a less-wordy version of their former boilerplate response to these types of stories. However, it could also be a hint that while talks might be going on between Apple and Drive.ai, nothing is finalized just yet.
What would Apple do with Drive.ai? Well, it would boost its self-driving automobile ambitions, for one, by adding a variety of different wildly talented individuals to the Project Titan team. However, the details in this regard are still few and far between. Back in February, the company confirmed it was laying off almost 200 engineers from the Project Titan project. And in that same month we heard that Apple’s project could end up being an electric van.
Whatever Apple is working on, and no matter how long it takes to come to fruition, it certainly sounds like the company isn’t giving up on the idea just yet.