Many of the largest technology and automotive companies are racing to develop the first fully functional autonomous vehicle, as the automotive industry is making rapid technological changes.
Companies like Google, Uber, GM and Apple are all working on autonomous vehicle, often in cooperation with other companies in the space. However, startups have proven themselves strong contenders against these older, more established conglomerates, which makes them a potential candidate for an acquisition.
Recently, Apple announced that it will be acquiring Drive.ai, an autonomous driving startup based out of the United States.
Apple will not be using any of the intellectual property of the startup. Instead, the deal is a so-called acqui-hire, where larger technology companies buy small startups to gain talent.
With this talent, Apple is looking to implement autonomous features in its systems and products, but this might still take some time.
"Apple’s primary ambitions in autonomy lie in the broad application of autonomous systems and related services. Their potential acquisition of Drive.ai would bring a new crop of engineering talent to aid in these efforts, but we do not expect a consumer product or service from Apple for 4+ years."Gene Munster, Apple analyst at Loup Ventures