Ford is committing to the future of self-driving cars by investing $1 billion in a new artificial intelligence (AI) company, according to WIRED magazine.
The investment will be spread over five years into Argo AI, a startup based in Pittsburgh, with engineering hubs in southeastern Michigan and the Bay Area of California. The firm includes staff from Carnegie Mellon University, which has helped develop self-driving vehicles for both Uber and Google.
The deal with Ford will see Argo expand to around 200 employees by the end of this year. Staff from Argo and Ford will work on creating a virtual driver system for its level-four automated cars. As defined by the Society of Automotive Engineers, there are six levels of self-driving cars. These range from no automation, to fully self-driving vehicles.
Ford says working with the new company will let it create highly automated cars by 2021. Argo AI has been created to operate with independence from the car manufacturer, although Ford will have a representative on its board. It's hoped the startup will help Ford innovate quickly.
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