Earlier this year Ford invested $1 billion in startup firm Argo AI. Based in Pittsburgh, the idea is to help Ford it in its quest to launch the company’s first autonomous car by 2021. It seems like I am seeing a lidar-related start-up with 50+ people being acquired every week.
Although Ford remains dedicated to that timeline, Argo CEO Brian Salesky says that goal might be tougher than first thought. Salesky commented, “We’re still very much in the early days of making self-driving cars a reality. Those who think fully self-driving vehicles will be ubiquitous on city streets months from now or even in a few years are not well connected to the state of the art or committed to the safe deployment of the technology. For those of us who have been working on the technology for a long time, we’re going to tell you the issue is still really hard, as the systems are as complex as ever.”
Ford is hoping to introduce a Level 4 autonomous vehicle for ride sharing and package delivery within the next four years. Salesky’s comments seem to indicate that might be a stretch, but only time will tell if Ford will meet its 2021 autonomous goal.