Apple buys the scraps of Drive.ai
One of the early startups in the self-driving gold rush was Drive.ai, which raised a total of $77 million since 2017 and had demonstrated promising autonomous vehicle tech. The company ceased operations two weeks ago, and Apple snapped up whatever was left.
It's confirmation that Apple isn't completely out of self-driving vehicles yet, despite rumors that it had backed away from building its own autonomous vehicle—but what's fascinating is news of this deal leaked before Drive.ai went out of business, with it only going through once it hit liquidation.
Why does any of this matter? Well, self-driving cars as a category has cooled down somewhat, despite many of these companies having demonstrably useful technology. In the very same 24 hour news cycle Uber acquired Mighty AI, another self-driving car company.
Drive.ai was operating orange vans in the Bay Area for technology workers, but struggled to find investors in its last round, ultimately forcing it to look for buyers.
Apple's self-driving project, dubbed Titan, is apparently still alive and well, driving around up to 70 vehicles and clocking up miles on U.S. streets. Supposedly, according to some rumors, it's expected an 'Apple Car' could arrive in 2023, but I'd expect that the company ends up partnering with a traditional car company to actually build whatever it produces.
If there's anything to take away from this, it's that self-driving cars were much harder than anyone expected—and all that loud talking about how we'll all be riding around in autonomous vehicles by 2020 was way too optimistic in the first place.
We'll get there eventually, I'm sure, but it's probably going to take another decade before it's commonplace, because the problems yet to be solved are both computationally and politically difficult, as well as slow to get through.
Apple cites useless statistics in response to EU antitrust lawsuit
The European Union is investigating Spotify's claims that Apple isn't a fair player in the market, and the company finally filed a response—which is not much more than an attempt at distraction.
Despite Spotify not taking subscriptions on the App Store for years, Apple tried to point to the 'lower' transaction fee, which was only recently introduced, rather than addressing the actual problem: even at 15 percent it's difficult to compete when Apple doesn't need to pay that for its own service.
LinkedIn is making major NewsFeed tweaks
It's arguably the most painful social network to use, and nobody really knows what to post there, so the company is tweaking the algorithm to focus on "engagement" more, whatever that really means. The company doesn't cite numbers, but I'd hazard a guess that it's seeing dropping rates of original interaction, just like Facebook.
Oppo just showed off the world's first 'under screen' front-facing camera
Behold, the end of the notch is nigh.
FYI: Gaming platform, Steam, just kicked off its summer sale, and there's lots of cheap games!
Want something new to play? One of my favorite games of late, Planet Coaster, is a modern reboot of the classic, Roller Coaster Tycoon, and it's 75% off. Goodbye, spare time!