In context: Apple has been quietly working on Project Titan for years now. With all the time (and presumably, money) that Apple has sunk into the initiative, one would have to think it is a pretty serious endeavor with loads of potential.

Apple this week acquired self-driving startup just days before the company planned to shut its doors and lay off all of its employees.

Apple confirmed the acquisition with Axios on Tuesday, noting that it has already hired dozens of staffers from the engineering and product design divisions. According to the publication, met with several potential buyers but Apple ultimately won out.

Financial terms of the deal were not made public although according to Axios' report, Apple likely paid less than the $77 million raised in its most recent funding round.

According to The Information, has been looking to be acquired since at least February. Team members scooped up by Apple will reportedly join others that the Cupertino-based company hired away from rivals such as Tesla and Waymo.

Although not mentioned specifically, it is believed that the new hires will be working on Project Titan, Apple's long-running autonomous vehicle research project. Project Titan was initially thought to be an initiative to build a self-driving car but over time, the scope reportedly narrowed to include only the software for autonomous vehicles which will likely be licensed to existing automakers down the road.

Masthead credit: Kaveh Waddell via Axios