The US automaker has decided to invest no less than $1 billion over the next half decade into robotics and artificial intelligence startup Argo AI.
This means the Blue Oval is now the company’s biggest shareholder, with plans to bring personnel from Ford’s autonomous drive team over to the newly acquired subsidiary. Argo’s main asset is the creation of an artificial intelligence software platform that will be developed to be housed inside and control Ford’s upcoming fully autonomous vehicles. The Blue Oval will try to deliver such products to the market by 2021. And it may even want to sell the technology under license to other manufacturers in the near future.
“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,” Raj Nair, Ford’s Global Product Development chief, said. The investment in Argo is part of Ford’s broader strategy to reinvent itself as a mobility company. Ford’s latest autonomous test vehicle has been presented at CES in January with an updated self-driving system – as a test bed for the upcoming driverless car developed for a ride-hailing service that should premiere in 2021, followed by the personal customer vehicle coming out in 2025.