Ford outlines 3 reasons why collaboration with VW, Argo AI on AVs works for all
In July 2019, Ford and Volkswagen announced a collaboration with Argo AI to introduce autonomous vehicle technology in the U.S. and Europe. As part of this collaboration, Volkswagen would join Ford in investing in the self-driving tech company, which positions both automakers to better serve their future customers while improving cost and capital efficiencies. According to a recent blog post by John Lawler, CEO, Ford Autonomous Vehicle LLC, and Ford Motor Company Vice President, Mobility Partnerships, this collaboration remains on track despite the uncertainty of today’s business environment and the new challenges for partnerships and investments in the self-driving space. As a result, Volkswagen’s investment in Argo AI was finalized June 1, 2020.
According to the blog post, the collaboration should be beneficial for all parties involved, as well as for future customers, through three pillars. First, through shared development costs.
“At Ford, we believe self-driving technology can make people’s lives easier and provide new and more efficient mobility solutions for our congested cities,” said Lawler. “Building a safe, scalable, and trusted self-driving service, however, is no small task.”
The automaker has committed to spending more than $4 billion through 2023 on the development of its self-driving service. A large part of this investment is dedicated to developing the self-driving system. With Volkswagen’s investment in Argo AI, Ford will now share the cost of developing Argo AI’s technology.
Second, through scale and reach. According to Lawler, in addition to shared development costs, the deal with Volkswagen makes Argo AI’s self-driving software the first with commercial deployment plans for both Europe and the U.S. Its platform has the largest reported geographic deployment potential of any autonomous driving technology to date, which is significant since scale and geographic reach are important factors in developing a self-driving system that is robust and cost efficient.
And last, through customer experience. “While our companies are sharing Argo AI’s technology development costs, Ford will remain independent and fiercely competitive in building its own self-driving service,” said Lawler. “Sharing the development costs with Volkswagen doesn’t mean Ford is reducing its overall spend in the autonomous vehicle space. Instead, we are reallocating the money toward our unique customer experience including transportation as a service software development and fleet operations. We believe building the best overall customer experience will help differentiate us from our competitors in the self-driving space.”
For more information, visit www.ford.com.