Ford Motor Company made announcement on the 10th January, 2017, that they are going to invest $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 investment in Pittsburg-based Argo AI, founded by former executives on self-driving teams at Google and Uber, will make Ford the company’s largest shareholder. This project is going to help the Detroit automaker reach its goal of producing a self-driving vehicle for commercial ride sharing fleets by 2021, the companies announced on Friday.
Ford Chief Executive Officer Mark Fields said the investment is in line with previous announcements on planned capital expenditures.
Argo AI, which focuses on artificial intelligence and robotics, will help build what Ford calls its “virtual driver system” at the heart of the fully autonomous car Ford said last year it would develop by 2021.Just Recently ended CES Mercedes-Benz and NVIDIA in Partnership for AI Car Technology
Both are alumni of Carnegie Mellon National Robotics Engineering Center and former leaders on the self-driving car teams of Google and Uber, respectively.
“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.”
The current team developing Ford’s virtual driver system – the machine-learning software that acts as the brain of autonomous vehicles – will be combined with the robotics talent and expertise of Argo AI. This innovative partnership will work to deliver the virtual driver system for Ford’s SAE level 4 self-driving vehicles.Self-Driving Truck Delivers Budweiser
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.
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 start-ups 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.”
The collaboration supports Ford’s intent to have a fully autonomous, SAE level 4-capable vehicle for commercial application in mobility services in 2021.Just recently there have been a series of developments regarding the Automobile industry. Uber being among the highest ranked Self driving cars. Let’s dive into the future of Artificial Intelligence cars.
“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 start-ups with Ford’s strengths in scaling technology, systems integration and vehicle design.”
Until now, Ford’s investments in future transportation technology have been relatively modest, compared with those of General Motors Co and others. One of Ford’s largest such investments in the past year was $75 million to buy a minority stake in Velodyne, a manufacturer of laser-based lidar sensing systems for self-driving cars.
Rival GM made a billion-dollar bet a year ago with its acquisition of Silicon Valley self-driving startup Cruise Automation. GM also invested $500 million to buy a 9-percent stake in San Francisco-based ride services firm Lyft, a competitor to Uber.
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