As part of Ford’s plans to introduce self-driving cars for commercial ride sharing fleets by 2021, the company has announced it plans to invest $1 billion over next five years in tech startup company Argo Al. Pittsburg-based Argo AI will help Ford build a virtual driver system and once developed it might also be licensed to other companies as well.
Argo Al, founded by former executives from self-diving teams at Uber and Google, focusses on artificial intelligence and robotics. Their expertise will help Ford introduce fully autonomous vehicles by 2021. Ford Chief Executive Officer, Mark Fields was quoted as saying, “With Argo AI's agility and Ford's scale we're combining the benefits of a technology start up with the experience and discipline we have at Ford.” Last year, ford invested around $75 million to buy minority stake in Velodyne, a manufacturer of laser-based lidar sensing systems for self-driving cars.
The company’s efforts are likely to yield positive results as most automakers are moving towards developing electric and self-driving cars. This will help the American automaker follow the lines of Toyota Motor Corp’s $1 billion investment over five years to create its own robotics and artificial intelligence research division. General Motors also invested $500 million to buy a 9-percent stake in San Francisco-based ride services firm Lyft, a competitor to Uber. Additionally, GM has also acquired Silicon Valley based self-driving startup Cruise Automation.