Ford Acquires Argo AI in Bid to Develop Self-Driving Cars

Feb 14, 2017 12:00 PM EST | Yen Palec

Car manufacturer Ford recently announced that the company will invest $1 billion towards the research and development machine-learning startup firm Argo AI. Ford added that the agreement entails that Argo AI will work exclusively with the Michigan-based car company. Argo AI's main task is to develop software for Ford's self-driving cars.

Ford had previously addressed its intention to rollout a self-driving car by 2021, according to The Register. Though there are skepticisms whether the company can achieve this timeline. There are speculations claiming that Ford will most probably limit the rollout to urban communities with its main application on ride-hailing services.

Argo AI is a startup firm based in Pittsburg, Pennsylvania. The company is working on a software system that can eventually guide self-driving cars. Argo AI chief executive officer Bryan Salesky said that Ford's investment will allow the firm to acquire new talents in order to hasten the development of its software.

In a statement acquired by CNet, Ford chief executive officer Mark Fields said, "For accounting purposes, Argo AI will be a subsidiary of Ford, but have a lot of independence. Its sole focus over the next five years will be developing self-driving software for Ford vehicles."

Ford said that the company will still provide the hardware platform for its self-driving car. Aside from developing the physical car, Ford added that it will also be responsible for developing large-scale manufacturing facilities that will handle the mass production of autonomous cars. Argo AI's main focus will be on the software side.

Over the past few years, tech companies and traditional car manufacturers have established ventures into the development of self-driving cars. The United States National Highway Transportation is also looking positive towards the development of this new technology. The federal agency is supporting autonomous cars as a means of reducing thousands of fatalities on US roads caused by car accidents.

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