Ford Motor Co. is investing to achieve its goal of delivering a fully driverless car without a steering wheel or a brake by 2021.
In mid-February 2017, Ford announced it was spending $1 billion on a new Pittsburgh start-up named Argo AI, which was founded by Carnegie Mellon alumni Bryan Salesky and Peter Rander. Salesky is the former director of Hardware Development for Waymo, previously known as Google’s self-driving car project. Rander was the Engineering Lead at Uber until September 2016.
Salesky and Rander founded Agro AI in 2017 to tackle the challenges of self-driving vehicles. With engineering hubs in Pittsburgh, southeastern Michigan and the Bay Area of California, Argo plans to grow to 200 employees by the end of 2017.
At an event in San Francisco announcing the deal, Ford’s president and chief executive officer, Mark Fields, said “if we can combine the best of a start-up and marry that with proper equity compensation, then that’s the best of both worlds”.
Ford joins a field of companies working toward a fully autonomous vehicle, including Waymo, General Motors, NVIDIA, Uber, Volvo, Tesla, Audi, BMW, Bosch, nuTonomy, and FiveAI.