Home / Tech News / Self-driving vehicle startup Drive.ai slams the brakes, lays off employees (updated)

Self-driving vehicle startup Drive.ai slams the brakes, lays off employees (updated)

Self-driving automotive startup Power.ai will stop all operations and lay off 90 workers, in step with a June 12 submitting with California’s Employment Building Division that used to be to begin with noticed by means of the San Francisco Chronicle. The scoop comes after experiences that Apple used to be exploring an acquisition of Power.ai to strengthen the previous’s secretive self-driving automotive venture.

Power.ai normal suggest Thomas Yih wrote within the letter that the closure used to be necessitated “[by] occasions past Power.ai’s keep watch over or present wisdom.” CEO Bijit Halder can be amongst the ones out of labor when Power.ai’s Mountain View place of job shutters on Friday, at the side of the corporate’s administrators of finance and robotics.

Power.ai declined to answer VentureBeat’s request for remark.

In what may well be retroactively interpreted as an indication of instability, Power.ai cofounders Sameep Tandon and Tao Wang left the corporate in June and February, respectively, in step with LinkedIn. 3 weeks in the past, 5 different Power.ai workers — most commonly information, methods, and device engineers — modified their LinkedIn profiles to mention they left Power.ai for Apple.

Power.ai used to be at one time valued at $200 million, and it controlled to lift just about $80 million in 4 years from backers together with New Undertaking Pals, GGV Capital, Northern Mild Challenge Capital, HOF Capital, Nvidia GPU Ventures, and others. Andrew Ng, previously Baidu’s leader scientist and a researcher at Stanford, as soon as sat at the corporate’s board of administrators.

Power.ai’s abrupt shutdown comes after it introduced it might pull out of Frisco, Texas, one in all its release towns. On the time, it stated it used to be as a result of its contract with Frisco, the place Power.ai has operated a small fleet of self sufficient Nissan NV200s shuttles on a unmarried path between an place of job park and a high-end buying groceries complicated, ended later within the month. (The Town of Frisco opted to not renew it, bringing up excessive prices.)

That transfer got here months after Power.ai started piloting its driverless tech in Arlington, Texas.

Power.ai’s shuttles — each and every of which used to be supplied with lidars, radars, GPS, cameras, and inertial size sensors that gathered information in regards to the outdoor global, at the side of onboard computer systems that interpreted incoming information in near-real time — ferried passengers on routes connecting the Dallas Cowboys stadium, an place of job park, a practice heart, the Texas Rangers ballpark, and the College of Texas at Arlington. They featured monitors that displayed symbols, emojis, and different visible cues to keep in touch their subsequent plan of action — a lane exchange or proper activate purple, as an example — to human drivers and pedestrians round them.

The trucks operated with protection drivers aboard, however Power.ai had deliberate to take away people from the loop by means of the tip of 2021.

Power.ai’s carrier used to be paid for by means of the Town of Arlington and the U.S. federal govt and used to be in the beginning slotted to run thru October 2019, with an approach to lengthen. The town asked that it finish early, and a spokeswoman for town informed the Chronicle that Power.ai’s trucks dropped off their final passengers on Would possibly 31.

Up to date 6:27 p.m. Pacific: Apple showed to Axios this night time that it obtained Power.ai for an undisclosed value. A supply tells the newsletter that the Cupertino corporate employed workers in engineering and product design, and that it moreover bought Power.ai’s self sufficient automobiles and similar property.

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