Ford abandons its autonomous car: “things have changed”

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Started in 2016, the Argo AI adventure dedicated to the autonomous car at Ford (and Volkswagen) has just been stopped.

Ford is ditching its self-driving 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 announces today to withdraw from the Argo AI project.

No autonomous 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 overall investment. According to Ford, despite high ambitions, Argo AI has been unable to attract new investors, or even develop a first autonomous vehicle.

As for at 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 any technology in-house related to this level 4 autonomous driving.

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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, particularly in Miami, Austin, Palo Alto, Munich and even Hamburg. Tests carried out on open roads, thanks to Ford Fusion and Escape equipped with the latest Argo AI technologies.

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.

As for carbon neutrality, in particular, the company has entered into memorandums of understanding with Salzgitter Flachstahl GmbH, Tata Steel Nederland B.V. and ThyssenKrupp Steel Europe AG to secure its supply of low-carbon steel. A low-CO2 steel, which Ford intends to use for the production of its all-new, all-electric, mid-size crossover vehicle from 2023.