Ford invests in AI start-up to develop virtual driver system

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Ford is to invest $1bn over the next five years in an autonomous vehicle start-up co-founded by former Google and Uber leaders.

AI

(L-R) Peter Rander, Argo AI COO; Mark Fields, Ford president and CEO; Bryan Salesky, Argo AI CEO; and Raj Nair, Ford executive vice president, product development.

The Argo AI business will work with Ford’s inhouse team developing its virtual driver system as a platform for Ford’s fully autonomous vehicle due in 2021.

Ford will continue to lead on development of its purpose-built autonomous vehicle hardware platform, as well as on systems integration, manufacturing, exterior and interior design, and regulatory policy management.

Ford will be the majority stakeholder in Argo AI while its employees will have equity participation in the company.

By the end of this year, Argo AI expects to have more than 200 team members, based in the company’s Pittsburgh headquarters and at major sites in Southeastern Michigan and the Bay Area of California.

“The next decade will be defined by the automation of the automobile, and autonomous vehicles will have as significant an impact on society as Ford’s moving assembly line did 100 years ago,” said Ford President and CEO Mark Fields. “As Ford expands to be an auto and a mobility company, we believe that investing in Argo AI will create significant value for our shareholders by strengthening Ford’s leadership in bringing self-driving vehicles to market in the near term and by creating technology that could be licensed to others in the future.”

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Natalie Middleton

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