by Josephine Cordero Sapién
27 Oct 2022
Argo AI, the autonomous vehicle company jointly controlled by Ford Motor Company and Volkswagen AG is shutting down.
The announcement came on Wednesday, 26 October.
Ford first invested in Argo AI in 2017 and then split its ownership of the company with Volkswagen AG in 2019.
Ford said it “made a strategic decision to shift its capital spending from the L4 advanced driver assistance systems being developed by Argo AI to internally develop L2+/L3 technology”. Ford also cited Argo AI’s inability to attract new investors.
Ford recorded a $2.7 billion non-cash, pretax impairment on its investment in Argo AI, resulting in an $827 million net loss for Q3.
Talking about its priorities, Ford said that when it had invested in Argo AI in 2017, it had “anticipated being able to bring Level 4 ADAS technology broadly to market by 2021”.
“[...] things have changed, and there's a huge opportunity right now for Ford to give time - the most valuable commodity in modern life - back to millions of customers while they're in their vehicles. It's mission-critical for Ford to develop great and differentiated L2+ and L3 applications that at the same time make transportation even safer.
“We're optimistic about a future for L4 ADAS, but profitable, fully autonomous vehicles at scale are a long way off and we won't necessarily have to create that technology ourselves.”
Ford cited the success of its Ford BlueCruise driver assistance feature as one of the avenues where it saw better revenue potential. The driver assistance technology can be used by drivers on specified US highway sections called Hands-Free Blue Zones. The feature provides assistance to drivers such as speed sign recognition, adaptive cruise control and lane centring. The L2 feature is uses a driver-facing camera to ensure drivers don’t take their eyes off the road in the false belief that the vehicle is capable of more automation than it actually is.
Ford said that to date, more than 83,000 vehicle owners had enrolled in its Ford BlueCruise and Lincoln ActiveGlide services, logging more than “21 million hands-free, L2 miles in just over one year since launch”.
Regarding Argo AI’s employees, Jim Farley said Ford would hire talented engineers from the company as Argo AI is wound down.
Argo AI was first established in 2016 by Bryan Salesky and Peter Rander who had come from the Google and Uber automated driving programmes.
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