Autonomous car startup Drive.ai will permanently shut down, with Apple swooping in to grab key driverless tech engineers, it’s been confirmed, as the tough challenge of removing humans from behind the steering wheel claims another victim.

The company launched publicly back in mid-2016, promising its artificial intelligence and deep learning algorithms would allow its self-driving vehicles to quickly assess and learn new locations.

Come 2018, Drive.ai was ready to put that into practice.

Originally, the pilot had intended to offer flexible pick-ups and drop-offs; that was downgraded to a handful of preset stops.

Reports earlier this month suggested Drive.ai was struggling, and on the hunt for potential suitors, with Apple named as a strong possibility.

Leaks indicated talks were ongoing to bring the Drive.ai team in-house, and use its expertise to bolster Apple’s Project Titan, the project working on autonomous car technologies and other automotive work.

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