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Argo AI: Ford to invest $1 billion in Artificial Intelligence

Investment is aimed at increasing the reliability of Ford's self-driving cars.

By Joe Clark

Ford is to invest $1 billion into Argo’s AI project over the next five years.

The collaboration with the AI company is expected to help increase the reliability of Ford’s self-driving cars over the next few years through the creation of a ‘virtual driver system’.

Argo was founded by former Google and Uber leaders and will work with Ford to increase the power of the artificial intelligence in vehicles. The pair are hoping to have created an autonomous vehicle for a commercial ride-sharing fleet by 2021.

Ford President and CEO Mark Fields said: “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.”

“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.”

Ford will be the majority stakeholder in Argo and the deal marks one of Fords largest contributions to AI technology. The company previously spent $75 million in 2016 to purchase a minority stake in Velodyne, which manufacturers laser systems for self driving cars.

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Raj Nair, Ford executive vice president, Global Product Development, and CTO said: “Working together with Argo AI gives Ford a distinct competitive advantage at the intersection of the automotive and technology industries.”

“This open collaboration is unlike any other partnership – allowing us to benefit from combining the speed of a startup with Ford’s strengths in scaling technology, systems integration and vehicle design.”

Last year Ford competitor General Motors acquired self driving startup Cruise Automation for over $1 billion dollars, and seems committed to similar goals.

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