The iPhone maker's purchase of Drive.ai adds to its portfolio of autonomous vehicle technologies.
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Apple has confirmed it has purchased Drive.ai, a startup focussed on developing autonomous vehicle technology.

According to Associated Press, Drive.ai filed a submission to California's labour regulator indicating it intended to close its doors by the end of last week and fire its 90 staff members.

It's not known if Apple's purchase means some or all of Drive.ai's staff will retain their jobs. The purchase price has also not been disclosed.

Prior to its purchase, Drive.ai was operating an on-demand autonomous car service within a small section of Arlington home to the Texas Rangers and Dallas Cowboys stadiums, as well as the convention centre and a large office complex.

Rides could be hailed by the general public via Drive.ai's smartphone app, and didn't cost the end user a dime.

Drive.ai's cars were Nissan NV-200 vans equipped with the company's self-driving equipment and electronic sign boards, allowing the vehicles to communicate with people in its vicinity.

Apple recently let 200 people go from its self-driving car unit, and has been scaling back its ambitions in the field for a while.

Reports indicate it had initially planned to launch its own autonomous vehicle, but is now concentrating on the underlying technologies instead.