Ford, Volkswagen say goodbye to Argo AI | Rare Techy
American autonomous vehicle startup Argo AI has announced the termination of its business relations with major investors Ford and Volkswagen. The termination was announced because Argo AI was unable to build a business or receive further investment.
Argo AI entered the autonomous vehicle (AV) arena in 2017 following a $1 billion investment from Ford. Until the shutdown, both Ford and VW had invested $2.6 billion in the AV startup. American ride-hailing company Lyft had a 2.5% stake in Agro AI, which used its technology for robotics.
“In consultation with our shareholders, the decision has been made that Argo AI will not continue its mission as a company,” Argo spokeswoman Catherine Johnsmeyer said in a statement.
“Many employees will have the opportunity to continue working on automated driving technology with either Ford or Volkswagen, while others will unfortunately have their employment terminated.”
The company had expected to launch autonomous vehicles in auto markets by 2021. Failing to meet the target and not raising additional funding, Agro AI burned a hole in the pockets of Ford and VW.
However, the technology Argo AI has developed so far is shared between its main investors, Ford and VW. The structure of this division has not yet been announced.
VW announced that it will use Argo’s AI software unit Cariad in the future to develop automated and autonomous driving with Bosch and Horizon Robotics.
“We are very grateful for the dedication of the Argo AI team and so proud of our collective achievements,” said Argo CEO Bryan Salesky and President Peter Rander.
“The team has been consistent and we look forward to success with whatever comes next, including opportunities for Ford and VW to continue working on automated driving technology.”
Before coming to a seemingly swift end, Argo AI had made huge strides in the AV sector. It has tested self-driving Ford Fusions and Escape Hybrids on public roads in several US cities, including Detroit, and ID Buzz vehicles in Germany.
The company had also launched pilot programs with companies such as ride-hailing app Lyft Inc. and Walmart Inc. Last month, it announced several AV-related software products to support commercial delivery and robot taxi operations, according to the Detroit News.