Ford invests in Argo AI, continues push forward with startup partnerships

By Oliver Griffin February 14, 2017

Ford Motors, giant of the automobile industry, is continuing to push forward with its tech-evolution  by partnering with increasing numbers of startups.

Earlier this week Ford announced a $1bn investment in Argo AI over the next five years. The move will combine Ford’s autonomous vehicle development expertise with Argo’s robotics experience. The motor giant also hopes to take advantage of the speed afforded to startups on developing artificial intelligence (AI) software.

Ford President and CEO Mark Fields said, “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 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.”

Bryan Salesky, co-founder and CEO of Argo AI added, “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.

“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 $1bn investment in Argo AI will be made over five years and is consistent with the autonomous vehicle capital allocation plan shared last September as part of Ford Investor Day.

By the end of this year, Argo AI expects to have more than 200 team members, based in the company’s Pittsburgh headquarters and at major sites in Southeastern Michigan and the Bay Area of California. The startup’s initial focus will be to support Ford’s autonomous vehicle development and production. In the future, Argo AI could license its technology to other companies and sectors looking for autonomous capability.

The news comes not long after Ford Motors announced a partnership with GPS app Sygic, a first to ever work with Ford.

Sygic and Ford joined forces to build an AppLink® capability between Sygic and Ford’s own SYNC 3 vehicle touch screen. The development allows users to project navigation apps directly from a smartphone to the SYNC 3 vehicle touchscreen.

The new capability works to keep eyes on the road and hands on the wheel by projecting the navigation information onto the touchscreen and leveraging voice recognition commands.


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