© Business Wire Business | February 13, 2017
Ford invests in Argo AI
Ford is investing USD 1 billion during the next five years in Argo AI, an artificial intelligence company, to develop a virtual driver system for the automaker’s autonomous vehicle coming in 2021 – and for potential license to other companies.
“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.” Argo AI will join forces with Ford’s autonomous vehicle software development effort to strengthen the commercialization of self-driving vehicles. Argo AI’s agility and Ford’s scale uniquely combine the benefits of a technology startup with the experience and discipline of the automaker’s industry-leading autonomous vehicle development program. “We are at an inflection point in using artificial intelligence in a wide range of applications, and the successful deployment of self-driving cars will fundamentally change how people and goods move,” said Salesky. “We are energized by Ford’s commitment and vision for the future of mobility, and we believe this partnership will enable self-driving cars to be commercialized and deployed at scale to extend affordable mobility to all.” “Working together with Argo AI gives Ford a distinct competitive advantage at the intersection of the automotive and technology industries,” said Raj Nair, Ford executive vice president, Global Product Development, and chief technical officer. “This open collaboration is unlike any other partnership – allowing us to benefit from combining the speed of a startup with Ford’s strengths in scaling technology, systems integration and vehicle design.” Ford will be the majority stakeholder in Argo AI. Importantly, Argo AI has been structured to operate with substantial independence. The $1 billion investment in Argo AI will be made over five years and is consistent with the autonomous vehicle capital allocation plan shared last September as part of Ford Investor Day. 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. ----- Pictured are: 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. Salesky and Rander are alumni of Carnegie Mellon National Robotics Engineering Center and former leaders on the self-driving car teams of Google and Uber, respectively.
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