Earlier this week, Apple Inc. (NYSE: AAPL) acquired self-driving shuttle firm Drive.ai. Drive.ai was reportedly planning to lay off 90 people and close down its operations when Apple came forward and acquired it, mainly to gain access to the startup’s engineering talent. This move indicates that Apple has significant plans to boost its self-driving vehicle operations.
Apple has been relatively secretive with regards to its autonomous vehicle ambitions and the company’s roadmap in this area is not yet clear. Thus it can be assumed that Apple has not yet reached the point that its technology rival Alphabet (NYSE: GOOGL) stands at.
Alphabet’s self-driving startup Waymo appears to be making meaningful headway in the self-driving car space. In March, it was reported that Waymo was seeking financing from outside investors.
According to this report by the Silicon Valley Business Journal, analysts estimate that Waymo could be worth as much as $175 billion in the future. The report states that Alphabet spends $1 billion a year on Waymo and if the latter manages to raise capital at a valuation north of $100 billion, it would become the most valuable startup on the planet.
Last week, Waymo announced a partnership with Renault and Nissan on behalf of The Alliance to explore autonomous vehicle opportunities in France and Japan. On Thursday, Waymo said it would provide some of its self-driving minivans to Lyft (NASDAQ: LYFT) as part of a new alliance between the two companies. This is significant progress in terms of autonomy that others are reportedly yet to achieve.
According to this report by CNBC, UBS estimates that Waymo’s revenues could reach $114 billion by 2030. At present, Waymo seems to be miles ahead of not just Apple but also most of the other players in the autonomous vehicle space.