Ford and VW shut down driverless joint venture

The autonomous vehicle startup Argo AI, joint owned by Ford and VW is closing down.

The website Techcrunch broke the news that the business, which was started with an initial $1 billion investment back in 2017, told employees that some people would receive offers to work at one of the two manufacturers, although it remains “unclear how many would be hired into Ford or VW and which companies will get Argo’s technology”.

Techcrunch adds that employees were told they would receive a severance package that includes insurance and two separate bonuses — an annual award plus a transaction bonus upon the deal close with Ford and VW. All Argo employees will receive these. For those who are not retained by Ford or VW, they will additionally receive termination and severance pay, including health insurance. Several people told TechCrunch that it was a generous package and that the founders of the company spoke directly to its more than 2,000 employees.

Reuters quotes Ford CFO John Lawler as saying, “It’s become very clear that profitable, fully autonomous vehicles at scale are still a long way off.”

Reuters comments that the decision to close Argo AI “underscores the growing realisation that automated vehicles may be even further away from mass deployment than industry executives predicted back in 2019”.

(Picture – Argo AI from May 2022)


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