Ford forms automated driving subsidiary from Argo AI's remains
Ford has launched a wholly owned subsidiary — staffed by hundreds of former employees of Argo AI — that will initially focus on commercializing a hands-free, eyes-off driver-assistance system.
The new 550-person company, called Latitude AI, will be dedicated to improving Ford's existing advanced driver-assistance system known as BlueCruise and developing new automated driving technology for its next-generation of vehicles. Most of the company is composed of machine learning and robotics, cloud platform, mapping, sensors, test operations and systems and safety engineers who worked at Argo AI, the autonomous vehicle startup that folded last year after Ford and VW pulled their backing.
Latitude is headquartered in Pittsburgh, where Argo was also based, and will have additional engineering hubs in Dearborn, Michigan, and Palo Alto, California. The company also will operate a highway-speed test track facility in Greenville, South Carolina. Sammy Omari, executive director of ADAS Technologies at Ford, also will serve as the CEO of Latitude. Ford named Peter Carr as Latitude's CTO, who will oversee product and technical development, and David Gollob as president, who will be responsible for business operations.
"We see automated driving technology as an opportunity to redefine the relationship between people and their vehicles," Doug Field, Ford's chief advanced product development and technology officer, said in a statement. "Customers using BlueCruise are already experiencing the benefits of hands-off driving. The deep experience and talent in our Latitude team will help us accelerate the development of all-new automated driving technology -- with the goal of not only making travel safer, less stressful and more enjoyable, but ultimately over time giving our customers some of their day back."
Argo AI burst on the scene in 2017, stacked with a $1 billion investment from Ford — and Iater an investment from VW. The startup shuttered suddenly in October 2022 after Ford and VW determined they would no longer pursue AV technology, at least not under the Argo umbrella. At the time, Ford said it was making a strategic decision to shift its resources to developing advanced driver-assistance systems, and not autonomous vehicle technology that can be applied to robotaxis. The company said it recorded a $2.7 billion noncash, pretax impairment on its investment in Argo AI.