Ford invests in Argo AI, An artificial intelligence startup,In drive for autonomous vehicle leadership


San Francisco, Feb. 10, 2017 – Ford Motor Company today announces it is investing $1 billion during the next five years in Argo AI, an artificial intelligence company, to develop a virtual driver system for the automaker’s autonomous vehicle coming in 2021 – and for potential license to other companies.

Founded by former Google and Uber leaders, Argo AI is bringing together some of the most experienced roboticists and engineers working in autonomy from inside and outside of Ford. The team of experts in robotics and artificial intelligence is led by Argo AI founders Bryan Salesky, company CEO, and Peter Rander, company COO. Both are alumni of Carnegie Mellon National Robotics Engineering Center and former leaders on the self-driving car teams of Google and Uber, respectively.

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“The next decade will be defined by the automation of the automobile, and autonomous vehicles will have as significant an impact on society as Ford’s moving assembly line did 100 years ago,” said Ford President and CEO Mark Fields. “As Ford expands to be an auto and a mobility company, we believe that investing in Argo AI will create significant value for our shareholders by strengthening Ford’s leadership in bringing self-driving vehicles to market in the near term and by creating technology that could be licensed to others in the future.”

The current team developing Ford’s virtual driver system – the machine-learning software that acts as the brain of autonomous vehicles – will be combined with the robotics talent and expertise of Argo AI. This innovative partnership will work to deliver the virtual driver system for Ford’s SAE level 4 self-driving vehicles.

Ford will continue to lead on development of its purpose-built autonomous vehicle hardware platform, as well as on systems integration, manufacturing, exterior and interior design, and regulatory policy management.

Argo AI will join forces with Ford’s autonomous vehicle software development effort to strengthen the commercialization of self-driving vehicles. Argo AI’s agility and Ford’s scale uniquely combine the benefits of a technology startup with the experience and discipline of the automaker’s industry-leading autonomous vehicle development program.

“We are at an inflection point in using artificial intelligence in a wide range of applications, and the successful deployment of self-driving cars will fundamentally change how people and goods move,” said Salesky. “We are energized by Ford’s commitment and vision for the future of mobility, and we believe this partnership will enable self-driving cars to be commercialized and deployed at scale to extend affordable mobility to all.”

The collaboration supports Ford’s intent to have a fully autonomous, SAE level 4-capable vehicle for commercial application in mobility services in 2021.

“Working together with Argo AI gives Ford a distinct competitive advantage at the intersection of the automotive and technology industries,” said Raj Nair, Ford executive vice president, Global Product Development, and chief technical officer. “This open collaboration is unlike any other partnership – allowing us to benefit from combining the speed of a startup with Ford’s strengths in scaling technology, systems integration and vehicle design.”

Also complementing the relationship will be Ford Smart Mobility LLC, which will lead on the commercialization strategy for Ford’s self-driving vehicles. This includes choices for using autonomous vehicles to move goods and people, such as ride sharing, ride hailing or package delivery fleets.

Ford will be the majority stakeholder in Argo AI. Importantly, Argo AI has been structured to operate with substantial independence. Its employees will have significant equity participation in the company, enabling them to share in its success. Argo AI’s board will have five members: Nair; John Casesa, Ford group vice president, Global Strategy; Salesky; Rander; and an independent director.

The $1 billion investment in Argo AI will be made over five years and is consistent with the autonomous vehicle capital allocation plan shared last September as part of Ford Investor Day.

By the end of this year, Argo AI expects to have more than 200 team members, based in the company’s Pittsburgh headquarters and at major sites in Southeastern Michigan and the Bay Area of California.

Argo AI’s initial focus will be to support Ford’s autonomous vehicle development and production. In the future, Argo AI could license its technology to other companies and sectors looking for autonomous capability.

Also Read:

Ford & Toyota join hands to establish ‘Smart Device Link’ Consortium; To accelerate industry driven standards for In-Vehicle Apps

Ford survey concludes that consumers are embracing new technologies in transportation services

Via: The Ford Motor Company-Mediacenter

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Peugeot buys “Ambassador” brand rights from Hindustan Motors

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Modified & restored Hindustan Motors Ambassador

KOLKATA: Ambassador, the iconic Indian car brand that till less than a decade ago carried both the Prime Minister and the common man, is being sold to French carmaker Peugeot.

The C K Birla Group-owned Hindustan Motors formalised the deal for Rs 80 crore on Friday. Production of Ambassador cars had stopped around three years ago.

“We have executed an agreement with the Peugeot SA Group for the sale of the brand Ambassador, including the trademarks… We intend to use the proceeds from the sale to clear dues of employees and lenders,” a CK Birla Group spokesperson said.

To those who grew up in the 1960s and 70s, Ambassador wasn’t just a car; it was an inseparable part of India’s urban landscape.

The car’s absence of looks was never in doubt. But in an era of limited choices, the spacious fourwheeler was the preferred choice for most Indians who could afford it. Even today for many, the car remains synonymous with memories of their fonder and younger days and a marker of a more innocent India.

It is not clear if Peugeot will use the Ambassador brand for its cars in India. A questionnaire mailed to the French company remained unanswered.

The Ambassador brand was introduced seven decades ago when Hindustan Motors launched the Morris Oxford series II (Landmaster) in a new avatar with minor changes.

peugeot-logo-2010-1920x1080Peugeot to re-enter India through a joint venture with CK Birla Group

PSA Group, the France-based carmaker and owner of automotive brands like Peugeot and Citroen, will soon re-enter the Indian market. The company is reportedly in talks with the New Delhi-based CK Birla Group for a probable manufacturing venture. An official announcement about the same is expected to be made by the end of this week. Though detailed information hasn’t…read more

Source: Link

Piaggio Group’s Aprilia Racing signs partnership agreement with BACKtoWORK24

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Milan, BacktoWork24 – a subsidiary of Gruppo 24 Ore and leading player in the Italian market for investment in small and medium-sized enterprises and startups by private investors — and Aprilia Racing — the technological development platform of the Piaggio Group and Italian centre of excellence for innovation in the technical/motorcycle sector — have recently signed a partnership that was presented at the Milan headquarters of the Gruppo 24 Ore on February 6.

The agreement aims to further the development and visibility of innovative startups and SMEs within the BacktoWork24 network, thanks to Aprilia Racing, recognized as a leading company at the national and international level, which will provide its international platform and one-of-a-kind technology.

As a result of this partnership, companies in the BacktoWork24 network will be able to field test their products and services using the tools of the Aprilia Racing MotoGP Platform, and to present their innovations through important visibility channels at the national and international level.

MotoGP spaces will serve as the location for technological testing and the development of innovative processes and services that, depending on their nature, can be developed independently or in concert with Aprilia Racing.

“The main objective of this operation,” explains BacktoWork24 CEO Alberto Bassi, “is to broaden the spectrum of opportunities for our companies through integration and collaboration with corporate companies. Over the course of 2017 we will select a panel of companies operating in different sectors to which Aprilia Racing will offer their assets, including an open-innovation approach.”

“We are pleased to have signed this partnership with BacktoWork24, which can in fact be a test case for visibility and the development of innovative new businesses,” said Romano Albesiano, Technical Director of Aprilia Racing. “Over the course of the MotoGP Racing Championship, Aprilia has had the honour of being the representative of Italianness in the world, and with this agreement we can provide our spaces synergistically in a circuit that reaches 15 different nations around the world. ”

Aprilia Racing, through the MotoGP platform, comes in contact every year with over 291 million viewers, of which about 2.5 of them are in the stands. In this context, startups will be introduced that, with dedicated activities during the races, private and showroom tests, b2b and b2c events,  and racetrack marketing activities in 15 countries and four continents, will have a unique showcase to introduce innovative products and services.

Presentation of the initiative was held on Monday, February 6, 2017, at 17:30 at the headquarters of the 24 ORE Group at Via Monte Rosa 91 in Milan. During the event, a space was provided where interested entrepreneurs could present their projects to the BacktoWork24 / Aprilia Racing team.

Press release