Ford invests further $1bn in virtual vehicle development

Ford Motor Company is investing $1 billion during the next five years in Argo AI, an artificial intelligence company, to develop a virtual driver system for Ford’s autonomous vehicle launching in 2021 – and for potential licensing to other companies.

Argo AI is bringing together some of the most experienced roboticists and engineers working in autonomy from inside and outside Ford.

The current team developing Ford’s virtual driver system – the machine-learning software that acts as the brain of autonomous vehicles – will be combined with the robotics talent and expertise of Argo AI. This innovative partnership will work to deliver the virtual driver system for Ford’s SAE level 4 self-driving vehicles.

Ford will continue to lead on development of its purpose-built autonomous vehicle hardware platform, as well as on systems integration, manufacturing, exterior and interior design, and regulatory policy management.

The collaboration supports Ford’s intent to have a fully autonomous, SAE level 4-capable vehicle for commercial application in mobility services in 2021.