Argo AI, a expertise firm that has been testing its driverless automobile platoform in Austin, is shutting down.
The Pittsburgh-based firm has been working in Central Texas since 2019 in partnership with Ford Motor Firm. Ford has been deploying prototypes in Austin to determine the town as a proving floor for autonomous car expertise.
“In coordination with our shareholders, the choice has been made that Argo AI won’t proceed on its mission as an organization. Most of the workers will obtain a chance to proceed work on automated driving expertise with both Ford or Volkswagen, whereas employment for others will sadly come to an finish,” Argo AI mentioned in a written assertion.
Argo AI is being absorbed into its two greatest backers, Ford and Volkswagen. Argo AI has greater than 2,000 workers within the U.S. and in Europe.
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Ford and Volkswagen have cooled on their funding in Argo AI. In a latest shareholder report, Ford CEO Jim Farley recommended the corporate might select to accumulate autonomous car expertise, quite than creating it internally.
Volkswagen has additionally mentioned it is going to not spend money on Argo AI. As an alternative, it plans to make use of its software program unit Cariad to develop automated and autonomous driving in partnership with Bosch and Horizon Robotics.
As of final 12 months, Argo AI had a staff of about 40 workers in Austin for its self-driving enterprise operations and testing staff. It additionally had an autonomous car terminal in East Austin that served as a base for the fleet, and the corporate mentioned it deliberate to construct a command heart close to Austin-Bergstrom Worldwide Airport. The corporate didn’t touch upon what number of workers it at the moment has in Central Texas, what number of can be affected or what would possibly turn out to be of its Austin places of work.
As of final 12 months, Ford additionally had a fleet of 30 self-driving Fusions that use Argo AI expertise that drive in East Austin, the South Congress space and downtown, together with close to the College of Texas campus. The automobiles used three-dimensional high-resolution maps of Austin’s road setting constructed by Argo AI to navigate. This consists of detailed info similar to lane geometry, sidewalk and bike lane areas, velocity limits and landmarks.
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Argo AI has additionally been in partnerships with Lyft and Walmart within the Austin space. Final 12 months, Argo AI mentioned self-driving automobiles can be delivering Walmart orders in an outlined space, primarily close to the Walmart retailer on East Ben White Boulevard.
Argo AI didn’t touch upon the impression the shutdown would have on both partnership, and Walmart didn’t instantly reply to a request for remark.
Lyft, nonetheless, confirmed that it will not supply a self-driving possibility in Austin. The corporate had solely been providing that possibility since September. Lyft had beforehand mentioned it deliberate to scale as much as no less than 1,000 autonomous automobiles on its community over the following 5 years throughout a number of markets.
Lyft mentioned it is going to proceed engaged on autonomous car choices by different companions.
“Argo AI has been a fantastic associate and we’ve discovered rather a lot from one another. This improvement doesn’t impression Lyft’s autonomous technique. We’ll proceed working with our different companions to advance the security and commercialization of AV expertise,” the corporate mentioned mentioned in a written assertion.
Driverless automobiles are nonetheless more likely to be seen on Austin roads. Cruise, a San Franscisco based mostly autonomous car firm, just lately mentioned it deliberate to supply its service to Austin and Phoenix.