Ford invests massively in AI startup

February 14, 2017 // By Christoph Hammerschmidt
Over the next five years, carmaker Ford Motor Company will invest $1 billion into Argo AI, a startup company launched by former Google and Uber engineers. The start-up is focusing on Artificial Intelligence. Ford hopes to complement its own expertise in the area of autonomous driving with Argo AI’s know-how.

Ford plans to develop a software platform for autonomous cars along with the Pittsburgh, Michigan, based startup company. The platform is scheduled to be ready by 2021. In the collaboration, Ford hopes that the creativity of the startup and the experience of the tradition-steeped carmaker will generate valuable synergies. The software could be licensed to other market participants, Ford hinted in a press release.

“The coming decade will be defined by further automating the car and through autonomous vehicles,” commented Ford Motor Company President and CEO Mark Fields. “This development has an enormous impact in the society, much like the introduction of the assembly line by Henry Ford 100 years ago. “Since Ford is a car manufacturer and at the same time a mobility enterprise, we believe that investing into Argo AI will create significant value – by strengthening our leading position when it comes to introducing self-driving vehicles to the market and by creating licensable technology.”

“We are at a turning point. AI Applications and the deployment of autonomous vehicles will improve mobility and transport industry at the same time,” added Argo AI CEO Bryan Salesky.

Ford will acquire the majority of Argo AI’s shares. Nevertheless, the company will continue to operate largely independently.

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