VW completes $2.6 billion investment in self-driving startup Argo AI

04 Juin, 2020, 12:22 | Auteur: Auguste Feret
  • Ford announced it has closed a deal with Volkswagen to work on autonomous vehicles with Argo AI

The Volkswagen Group and Ford have completed their $2.6 billion (£2.1bn) investment in autonomous tech startup Argo AI, 11 months after it was announced.

Volkswagen and Ford Motor (NYSE: F) took an initial interest in the startup in 2016.

"While our companies are sharing Argo AI's technology development costs, Ford will remain independent and fiercely competitive in building its own self-driving service", Ford said.

Volkswagen's agreement includes the transfer to Argo of its Munich-based Autonomous Intelligent Driving unit, which boosts Argo's employment to more than 1,000, according to Salesky. The division's Munich, Germany offices will become the new European headquarters of Argo.

Austin, Texas is the third city that Ford and its mobility partner, Argo AI, will test autonomous vehicles. After the $1 billion investment by Ford, Argo AI CEO Brain Salesky said that the automaker was not acquiring his company.

"This news not only solidifies our well-capitalized position, but differentiates us as the only self-driving technology platform company with partnerships and commercial agreements for deployments across the USA andEurope".

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In Oct 2018, Japan's Honda Motor Co announced it will work jointly with Cruise and GM to develop a purpose-built autonomous shuttle for Cruise that can be manufactured at high volume for global deployment, as well as explore opportunities for commercial deployment of the Cruise robotaxi network. BMW and Daimler are also working together. Now VW has finished a $US2.6 billion total investment, involving both cash and its former self-driving operations.

Recognizing that VW's investment in Argo's technology is no bad thing, Lawler added: "Building a safe, scalable and trusted self-driving service, however, is no small task".

"It's also not a cheap one". We've committed to spending more than $US4 billion through 2023 on the development of our self-driving service. A large part of this investment is dedicated to developing the self-driving system. "With Volkswagen's investment in Argo AI, we will now share the cost of developing Argo AI's technology".

The coronavirus outbreak has set back Ford's plan to launch robo-taxis and driverless delivery pods next year.

Last week, VW disclosed that its supervisory board had approved several projects in a multibillion-dollar alliance with Ford that also was announced last July.

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