The two firms will combine artificial intelligence and engineering expertise to being an autonomous car to the road in 2021
Ford has revealed plans to invest $1 billion (£798m) in artificial intelligence (AI) Agro AI in a move to help the car maker advanced its autonomous driving development.
The investment, which will take place over the next five years, is part of Ford’s plans to put self-driving cars on the road by 2021, which it plans to do so by combining the robotics and engineering expertise of Ford and Argo AI to create a software platform to power Ford’s fully autonomous vehicles
Argo AI was founded Bryan Salesky, a former member of Google’s driverless car division, and Peter Randler, who headed up the autonomous driving division at Uber. As such, Argo AI has a strong batch of driverless car expertise which Ford will be able to tap into.
The investment will give Ford a majority stake in Argo AI which will see the startup become a subsidiary of the car maker, however it will operate independently.
“Argo AI’s initial focus will be solely and exclusively to support Ford’s efforts to bring our autonomous vehicle to the marketplace,” said Ford CEO Mark Feilds at an event in San Francisco.
Raj Nair, Ford’s chief technical officer, extolled virtues of the investment as a combination of two sets of tech and automotive expertise coming together.
“Working together with Argo AI gives Ford a distinct competitive advantage at the intersection of the automotive and technology industries,” he said. “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 is not the only company partnering and investing in AI companies, but it is one of the largest car makers in the world and is already a prolific technology adopter, so with Argo AI added into the fold, there is a strong chance that Ford could bring a fully autonomous car to the road in a matter of years. However, regulations and concerns over liability still stands a change of putting a roadblock in the highway to driverless cars.
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