Throughout next five years Ford will invest $1 billion in artificial intelligence with the goal to support fully autonomous vehicle coming in 2021. Argo Al, the startup from Pittsburgh founded last year, operating in the field of robotics and virtual driver systems will compliment Ford’s autonomous vehicle team that’s working on the a fully self-driving car which is planned to be released on market in 2021.
Former Google and Uber employees Bryan Salesky and Peter Rander, both alumni of the Carnegie Mellon National Robotics Engineering Center have left this companies to found Argo. As part of the $1 billion investment, Ford will become a majority stakeholder in Argo, which will have five member board, and Ford will have one person in it. Commenting the cooperation of Michigan giant and Argo, Raj Nair product chief and chief technical officer said: “When talent like that comes up, you don’t ignore that availability. This really increases the robustness of our ability to deliver this vehicle in 2021.”
Software developed by Ford and Argo could be licensed to other companies
By the end of this year, Argo will have offices in southeastern Michigan and California, according to Ford, along with its Pittsburgh headquarters. It will employ more than 200 workers at the three sites, and some of Ford employees will go to work for Argo. According to Ford software it develops with Argo could potentially be licensed to other companies. CEO Mark Fields mentioned at the end of the week that the investment could also include an IPO. “There’s potential to create significant value in the company,” he said.
The investment in Argo is the latest in a string of moves by Ford to offer transportation alternatives to the traditional car and truck — a mainstay of the company since its founding. Last March, the automaker created a Smart Mobility subsidiary to invest in emerging mobility opportunities as it targets more services outside traditional car and truck ownership.
Argo will strengthen the company’s virtual driver assistance team already in place. Ford has been working on autonomous vehicles for a decade before last year disclosing plans to develop a fully driverless car — without a steering wheel or gas and brake pedals — for commercial use in 2021. Ford is testing autonomous cars on public roads in Michigan, California and Arizona.