Dearborn, Michigan – Nearly a year after agreeing to invest $1 billion in cash and $1.6 billion worth of technology into autonomous driving startup Argo AI, Volkswagen has completed that deal, putting it on track to develop new technologies with Argo and its largest shareholder Ford.
Ford Autonomous Vehicles CEO John Lawler says the collaboration between Ford, VW, and Argo will spread out development costs and allow both companies continue investing in self-driving vehicles, despite the economic hardships caused by the COVID-19 pandemic.
“We’ve committed to spending more than $4 billion through 2023 on the development of our self-driving service. A large part of this investment is dedicated to developing the self-driving system. With Volkswagen’s investment in Argo AI, we will now share the cost of developing Argo AI’s technology,” Lawler said in a blog post celebrating the deal’s completion.
Lawler added that having a critical partner in Europe will allow companies to collaborate on systems in different markets with different needs, expanding the scale of projects.
While they plan to share some basic technologies, Ford and VW will develop independent self-driving cars. Lawler said by cost sharing with VW, Ford will be able to allocate more funds to customized vehicle experiences.
“Investing in and creating the right customer experience is even more important now as the COVID-19 virus has impacted everything – from the way we work to how we shop. At Ford, we believe a change in customer behavior, whether permanent or temporary, is something we must fully understand as we build a self-driving service,” Lawler said.