Ford just announced big plans to invest a total of $1 billion over the course of five years into an artificial intelligence startup called Argo Al.
Argo Al, based in Pittsburgh, was founded by Bryan Salesky and Peter Rander. Salesky is a multi-year veteran of Google’s self driving team while Rander led autonomous efforts at Uber up until September 2016.
Ford’s investment into the company is their way of tapping into becoming a leader in the autonomous space.
Ford is buying Argo and taking a majority stake in the company, but the company is framing the deal as an investment instead of an acquisition.
“From an accounting standpoint, [Argo AI] is a subsidiary,” said Ford CEO Mark Fields at an event in San Francisco. “But in terms of how they’re operating and how we’re structuring the board, this gives them a lot of independence.”
This could be the start of something big for Ford as the company will be creating the technology that one day will drive its autonomous vehicles.
The technology also could be licensed to other automakers, executives said.
Fields believes the investment will help Ford bring its self-driving cars to market by the company’s previously stated goal of 2021.
Argo AI will have 200 employees by the end of 2017, executives said. The company will have a headquarters in Pittsburgh, with additional offices in southeastern Michigan and the San Francisco Bay area.
Disclaimer: We have no position in Ford Motor Company (NYSE: F) and have not been compensated for this article.