Ford bets big on AI with $1B investment

Dive Brief:

  • Ford is investing $1 billion over the next five years in Argo AI, an artificial intelligence company, according to a company press release.
  • The investment is for furthering the advancement of autonomous vehicle technology by combining Ford’s autonomous vehicle development expertise with Argo AI’s robotics experience and startup speed on artificial intelligence software.
  • “We are at an inflection point in using artificial intelligence in a wide range of applications, and the successful deployment of self-driving cars will fundamentally change how people and goods move,” said Argo AI co-founder and CEO Bryan Salesky, in the release. “We are energized by Ford’s commitment and vision for the future of mobility, and we believe this partnership will enable self-driving cars to be commercialized and deployed at scale to extend affordable mobility to all.”

Dive Insight:

Ford’s large investment is the latest coming from a major well-established brand although most other high profile AI investments and R&D activity come from companies that are least tech-oriented at the heart of their business model such as Google, Amazon, Facebook, Microsoft and Apple. Salesky’s statement illustrates how AI tech is likely to permeate a wide variety of business sectors as well as become an integral part of most people’s day-to-day lives.

The release mentioned that Ford intends to have fully autonomous vehicles available by 2021, and that the deal both strengthens Ford’s leadership in that pursuit as well as creating technology that Ford can license out in the future. Argo AI’s co-founders have backgrounds with Google and Uber, companies active in AI and autonomous vehicle technology. 

The deal is the latest example of how Ford is ramping up its digital prowess. Ford recently opened FordHub in NYC to showcase its expansion into mobility. Last month, the company partnered with Amazon to bring the Alexa digital assistant to its vehicles

Filed Under: Corporate News