On Tuesday, Volkswagen Group finalized a $2.6 billion investment into Argo AI, a Pittsburgh-based self-driving car startup.
The German automaker’s deal with Argo AI included $1 billion in cash and Argo taking over VW’s European self-driving unit, valued at $1.6 billion.
Argo got an initial investment from Ford in early 2017. Since then Argo has been working to develop the automated driving system that Ford had planned to launch into production in 2021. However, in April, Ford said it would postpone plans to launch its autonomous vehicle (AV) commercial services with Argo from next year to 2022 due to the coronavirus pandemic.
VW hasn’t given a firm date for its commercial AV launch, but at the initial investment announcement in July 2019, it said it would come later than Ford’s launch, likely in 2022 or 2023.
Clearly, building a safe and trustworthy self-driving car is not a cheap undertaking. This partnership will be beneficial for all three companies, given the technical challenges of developing automated vehicles. By sharing Argo’s technology, Ford and VW can also share the cost of development.
Teamwork makes the dream work.