Argo AI Closes in Wake of Ford Losses

The autonomous vehicle company is shutting down as Ford prioritises other levels of driverless transport.

An autonomous Argo AI vehicle out in public
Argo AI was one of the companies working on Level 4 systems © Credit to Ford

Unfortunate news in the autonomous driving space with Ford announcing that Argo AI, an autonomous vehicle company, is being wound down as the company looks to speed up development of Level 2+ and Level 3 autonomous driving systems.

This was announced in a recent earnings report. The report notes that Argo AI was unable to attract new investors and that it was taking a “$2.7 billion non-cash, pretax impairment on its investment” in the company, which led to it posting an $827 million net loss for Q3.

Volkswagen and Ford will now snap up the company’s tech and any other assets.

“In coordination with our shareholders, the decision has been made that Argo AI will not continue on its mission as a company,” an Argo AI spokesperson commented to Engadget.

“Many of the employees will receive an opportunity to continue work on automated driving technology with either Ford or Volkswagen, while employment for others will unfortunately come to an end.”

All employees of Argo AI will receive bonuses as part of their severance package.

Back in 2017 Ford said it would invest $1 billion into Argo AI over five years. Two years after that, Volkswagen would commit $2.6 billion. Around this time, Ford and VW said they would work on vehicles that harnessed the startup’s autonomous tech.

Before this announcement, Argo AI had been testing its tech on public roads in the US and Germany. Earlier in May it commenced driverless operations in both Austin and Miami without a safety driver at the helm.

Ride-hailing service, Lyft, was amongst the companies that were looking into deploying Argo AI-powered vehicles.

It was only last month that Argo AI announced a number of tools and services that would support autonomous delivery and robotaxi operations.

This news will come as a surprise to many with eyes on the autonomous driving space. What do you make of Argo AI shutting down and Ford’s sudden shift in focus?

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