Ford abandons its autonomous car: “things have changed”


In 2016, Bryan Salesky and Peter Rander created the start-up Argo AI, specializing in automated driving techniques. Quickly, the Ford manufacturer embarked on the adventure, investing no less than a billion dollars in the project, spread over five years. The initial objective was simple: to develop a software platform capable of giving Ford vehicles a level 4 autonomous driving system at the end of five years. Since associated with Volkswagen on the project, Ford announced today to withdraw from the Argo AI project.

No self-driving car at Ford

Indeed, alongside the announcement of its latest financial results, Ford also wanted to confirm the shutdown of Argo AI, the fault (among other things) of a net loss of more than 800 million dollars on the global investment. . According to Ford, despite great ambitions, Argo AI has not been able to attract new investors, or even develop a first autonomous vehicle.

On the side of Ford, it is also announced that it wants to refocus on new driver assistance technologies, which will make vehicles even safer. According to Ford CEO Jim Farley: “things have changed, and cost-effective, fully autonomous vehicles at scale are still a long way off”and the firm no longer plans to develop in-house any technology related to this level 4 autonomous driving.

Regarding the future of Argo AI, Ford and Volkswagen have already announced their desire to take over some of the 2,000 employees. Numerous tests had already been carried out, in particular on the side of Miami, Austin, Palo Alto, Munich or even Hamburg. Tests carried out on open roads, thanks to Ford Fusion and Escape equipped with the latest technologies from Argo AI.

If the autonomous car has been ruled out by Ford, the group obviously remains focused on electric mobility, but also on the carbon neutrality that Ford wishes to achieve by 2035. Let us recall in passing that Ford has also just signed the end of the career of its legendary Fiesta.

With regard to carbon neutrality, the company has notably entered into memorandums of understanding with Salzgitter Flachstahl GmbH, Tata Steel Nederland BV and ThyssenKrupp Steel Europe AG in order to guarantee its supply of low-carbon steel. A low-carbon steel, which Ford intends to use for the production of its all-new, all-electric, mid-size crossover vehicle from 2023.

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