Ford investing US$1 billion in robotics startup Argo AI
The investment, part of Ford’s plan to develop a fully driverless vehicle by 2021, will make Ford the company's largest shareholder.
As part of its plan to develop a fully driverless vehicle by 2021, Ford Motor Company is investing US$1 billion over the next five years in startup robotic technology supplier Argo AI.
The investment in Pittsburgh, Pa.-based Argo AI, which was founded by former executives on self-driving teams at Google and Uber, will make Ford the company’s largest shareholder.
In a statement, Ford CEO Mark Fields said the investment is in line with previous announcements on planned capital expenditures.
Argo AI, which focuses on artificial intelligence and robotics, will help build what Ford calls its “virtual driver system” at the heart of the fully autonomous car Ford said last year it would develop by 2021.
“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,” Fields said.
Once the technology is fully developed for Ford, it could be licensed to other companies, the statement said.
While Ford will retain a majority of the start-up’s equity, the potential for an equity stake as Argo AI hires 200 more employees will be an advantage in recruiting talent, Fields said.