Ford has announced that it will invest $1 billion over the next five years in Argo AI, an artificial intelligence startup founded by roboticists and engineers who formerly led the self-driving car programs at Google and Uber.
The commitment is intended to accelerate Ford’s autonomous vehicle program, which aims to deliver an SAE level 4-capable vehicle for commercial use by 2021.
Under the terms of the arrangement, Ford will continue to control development of hardware and lead the self-driving car effort in the areas of systems integration, manufacturing, design and policy management while Argo AI will contribute to development of its virtual driver system.
By the end of the year, Argo AI is expecting to have 200 employees based in Pittsburgh, Southeastern Michigan and the San Francisco Bay Area.
As part of the announcement, Ford indicated that it may consider licensing technology developed in conjunction with Argo AI to third parties.