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Ford is giving Google and Uber veterans $1 billion to build a self-driving car brain

Ford is giving Google and Uber veterans $1 billion to build a self-driving car brain

By Arnaldo Rodgers on February 12, 2017  from Veterans Today

A colossal investment in Argo AI

By Nick Statt

Ford announced plans today to invest $1 billion over the course of five years into a new, previously unheard of artificial intelligence startup called Argo AI. The company, which has operated in secret out of its Pittsburgh headquarters for months, was founded by Bryan Salesky, a multi-year veteran of Google’s self-driving team, and Peter Rander, who led autonomous efforts at Uber up until September 2016. Ford’s goal is to tap into Argo AI’s expertise to help establish the car company as a leader in the autonomous space.

The deal effectively means Ford is buying Argo and taking a majority stake in the company, though Ford is framing the deal as an investment instead of an acquisition. “From an accounting standpoint, [Argo AI] is a subsidiary,” said Ford CEO Mark Fields today at an event in San Francisco. “But in terms of how they’re operating and how we’re structuring the board, this gives them a lot of independence.” For instance, Ford and Argo plan to use equity in the startup as a recruiting incentive to lure engineers away from joining competitors

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