Currently reading: VW and Ford complete investment in Argo AI self-driving firm
Start-up will integrate its operation with Audi's self-driving division to develop and commercialise future system

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. 

The deal was finalised by executives from both companies on Monday, despite both taking a significant financial hit due to the ongoing pandemic. 

A crucial part of the deal is Audi's transfer of its Autonomous Intelligent Driving division, valued at £1.28bn, to Argo AI. The German car maker's Munich-based division will become Argo's European hub, with its 200 employees and already-developed technology integrated into it. It will be Argo's fifth engineering centre and the only one outside of the US. 

Prior to the crisis, Ford intended to spend $4bn overall on its autonomous vehicle development, including starting a subsidiary firm for the commercial side of it. 

Volkswagen will put forward just under £2.1bn in total and purchase shares from Ford over a three-year period. This increases the total valuation of Argo AI to more than £5.6bn.

The two car makers claimed last year that Argo AI’s self-driving system is the first with commercial deployment plans for Europe and the US. It plans to deliver a Level 4-capable self-driving system for “ride-sharing and goods delivery services in dense urban areas”. 

Argo AI's self-driving system is said to be the one with the most potential to scale rapidly and extensively, with the first commercial rollout scheduled for 2021. Road trials of its well-developed system in locations such as Washington, Palo Alto, Pittsburgh, Miami and Detroit have already begun.

Ford CEO Jim Hackett said last year: "While Ford and Volkswagen remain independent and fiercely competitive in the marketplace, teaming up and working with Argo AI on this important technology allows us to deliver unmatched capability, scale and geographic reach."


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xxxx 2 June 2020

Self driving cars and 4 billion Canadian dollars

The story that keeps on giving.  I've a self parking button that still hasn't been pressed after 3 months of ownership, came as standard before you ask, can't even be bothered to read the dedicated, and complicated, 4 pages in the manual.

Ford need to think about BEV's more and leave self driving projects until they stop sliping down the sales chart.