Argo AI

Last updated
Argo AI LLC
Type limited liability company
Industry Self-driving car
Founded2016;5 years ago (2016)
Founders Bryan Salesky
Peter Rander
Headquarters
Key people
Bryan Salesky (CEO)
Peter Rander (President)
Parent Ford Motor Company 40%
Volkswagen Group 40%
Argo AI founders and employees 20%
Website www.argo.ai

Argo AI is an autonomous driving technology company headquartered in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. [1] [2] The company was co-founded in 2016 by Bryan Salesky and Peter Rander, veterans of the Google and Uber automated driving programs. [3] Argo AI is an independent company that builds the software, hardware, maps, and cloud-support infrastructure to power self-driving vehicles. Argo has two major investors: Ford Motor Co. (2017) [4] and the Volkswagen Group (2020). [5] Argo’s Self Driving System (SDS) technology will be incorporated into vehicles manufactured by the auto-makers through these partnerships. [6] [7]

Contents

History

Argo AI was co-founded in November 2016 by roboticists Bryan Salesky and Peter Rander. As of July 2020, the company employed over 1000 employees with offices [8] in Pittsburgh, Detroit, Palo Alto, Cranbury, NJ [9] and Munich, Germany. [10] In June 2020, Argo was valued at $7.25 billion. [11]

Salesky (CEO) was born in Woodhaven, MI outside of Detroit and settled in Pittsburgh, PA, where Argo is based. [3] He earned a Bachelor of Science in Engineering from the University of Pittsburgh in 2002 and began working at Union Switch & Signal, a supplier of railroad signaling equipment, where he worked on anti-collision software for trains. [3] From 2004 to 2011 he worked at the National Robotics Engineering Center (NREC) at Carnegie Mellon’s Robotics Institute, where Rander was his boss. [3]

In 2007, Salesky and Chris Urmson [3] led Carnegie Mellon’s software development team for the third DARPA driverless car competition dubbed the Urban Challenge. [12] From 2013 - 2016, Salesky served as director of hardware development for Google’s autonomous vehicle initiative, now known as Waymo. [12] [3]

Rander (President), a Michigan native [13] and University of Detroit Mercy alumnus [14] earned his MS and Ph.D. degrees in Robotics at Carnegie Mellon University (CMU) and worked alongside Salesky at the National Robotics Engineering Center. [15]  From 2015 to 2016, [16] Rander was the engineering lead for Uber’s Advanced Technology Group (ATG); Uber’s self-driving car unit. [17]

Argo AI was initially funded in late 2016 through a small seed round from an undisclosed source. [10] In February 2017, Ford Motor Company announced that it was to invest $1 billion in Argo AI over the next five years, to develop a virtual driver system for the automaker's autonomous vehicle coming in 2021. [4] Ford became the company’s largest shareholder, enabling them to hire 200 additional employees including members of Ford's R&D team. [18]

In June 2020, Volkswagen invested $2.6 billion into Argo AI. Under the terms of the deal, Volkswagen committed $1 billion in cash into Argo AI and its Munich-based Autonomous Intelligent Driving (AID) unit - valued at $1.6 billion. [19] The AID technology unit, consisting of over 200 employees, was first launched to develop autonomous vehicle technology for VW automobiles. According to the terms of the deal, VW was to purchase Argo AI shares from Ford for $500 million over three years, while Ford would invest the remaining $600 million of its $1 billion cash commitment to the company. In executing the agreement, the Munich-based AID team was integrated into Argo AI to form the company’s European engineering center. [19]

Between the partnerships, Argo has raised over $3.6 billion. [19] Argo’s ownership is shared among its largest shareholders, Ford and Volkswagen, each of whom owns 40 percent of the company and its management team with just over 20 percent—to utilize as an equity incentive for employees. [20] Its board of directors is composed of two Ford seats, two Volkswagen seats, and three Argo seats. [10]

Technology

Argo claims its technology will deliver Level 4-capable Self-Driving Systems (SDS) for autonomous driving (AV) vehicles. [21] Autonomous driving categories are defined by the Society of Automotive Engineers and have been adopted as industry standards by the U.S. Department of Transportation. [22]

The technology developed by Argo comprises the entire self-driving system, including the software and hardware compute platforms, sensors, cameras, radar, and light detection and ranging radar (LIDAR). [10]

In October 2017, Argo purchased Princeton Lightwave, a producer of lidar technology, based in Cranbury, NJ. [23]

In 2019, Argo introduced its third-generation test vehicle, based on the Ford Fusion Hybrid, which incorporates higher-resolution cameras with wider dynamic ranges, increased computer processing power, and heating and cooling systems improvements. [18]

Argo plans to deliver autonomous driving technology for shared fleets rather than personal ownership with applications including ride-hailing and goods delivery services. [24]  

Road testing

Argo has self-driving vehicle testing locations in Pittsburgh and Dearborn, MI as part of its research and development initiatives.  In early 2018, Argo began testing vehicles in Miami, FL marking the first time vehicles were tested outside the company’s home territories of Detroit and Pittsburgh. [25] Additional test sites for the Argo and Ford collaboration include Washington, D.C.(Oct. 2018), [26] and Austin, TX (Sept. 2019). [27] Argo began testing out of its Palo Alto engineering center after receiving its permit from the CA DMV in Jan. 2019. [28] The expansion to additional urban test sites allows the company to capture the unique driving behavior and road culture of each city. [29]  Argo’s testing includes millions of simulations to represent various weather, infrastructure, pedestrian, and other conditions. [24]

University research

In 2017, Argo announced university partnerships with Carnegie Mellon University and the Georgia Institute of Technology to research computer vision and machine learning technologies. [30]

In June 2019, Argo announced a $15 million investment over five years to create the Carnegie Mellon University Argo AI Center for Autonomous Vehicle Research, which will focus on advanced algorithms for autonomous vehicles, specifically for advanced perception and decision-making capabilities. [31] [15] The announcement follows the company’s introduction of its open source data set, a set of highly curated maps and data released to further the study of autonomous vehicle research and development. [32] Research topics slated for study at the research center include smart sensor fusion, 3D scene understanding, urban simulation, map-based perception, behavior prediction, and software validation. [17]

Related Research Articles

Self-driving car Road vehicle that is capable of moving safely with little or no human input

A self-driving car, also known as an autonomous vehicle, driverless car, or robo-car, is a vehicle that is capable of sensing its environment and moving safely with little or no human input.

Vehicular automation Automation for various purposes of vehicles

Vehicular automation involves the use of mechatronics, artificial intelligence, and multi-agent system to assist a vehicle's operator. These features and the vehicles employing them may be labeled as intelligent or smart. A vehicle using automation for difficult tasks, especially navigation, may be referred to as semi-autonomous. A vehicle relying solely on automation is consequently referred to as robotic or autonomous. After the invention of the integrated circuit, the sophistication of automation technology increased. Manufacturers and researchers subsequently added a variety of automated functions to automobiles and other vehicles. The technology involved in implementing autonomous vehicles is very expansive, ranging from technological improvements on the vehicle itself to the environment and objects around the vehicle. As the use of automated vehicles increases, they are becoming more influential in human lives. Although automated vehicles bring various benefits, it also comes with various concerns. Also, there are still technology challenges that autonomous vehicles seek to make a breakthrough in order to make it robust and scalable.

Velodyne Lidar American technology company

Velodyne Lidar is a Silicon Valley-based lidar technology company, headquartered in San Jose, California. It spun off from Velodyne Acoustics. As of July 2020, the company has worked with more than 300 customers. Velodyne Lidar ships sensors to mobility industry customers for testing and commercial use in autonomous vehicles, advanced driver assistance systems, mapping, robotics, infrastructure and smart city applications.

Waymo Autonomous car technology company

Waymo LLC is an American autonomous driving technology development company. It is a subsidiary of Alphabet Inc, the parent company of Google. Waymo operates a commercial self-driving taxi service in the greater Phoenix, Arizona area called "Waymo One", with Chandler, Arizona fully mapped. In October 2020, the company expanded the service to the public, and it is the only self-driving commercial service that operates without safety backup drivers in the vehicle. Waymo also develops driving technology for use in other vehicles, including delivery vans and Class 8 tractor-trailers for delivery and logistics.

History of self-driving cars Overview of the history of self-driving cars

Experiments have been conducted on self-driving cars since at least the 1920s; promising trials took place in the 1950s and work has proceeded since then. The first self-sufficient and truly autonomous cars appeared in the 1980s, with Carnegie Mellon University's Navlab and ALV projects in 1984 and Mercedes-Benz and Bundeswehr University Munich's Eureka Prometheus Project in 1987. Since then, numerous major companies and research organizations have developed working autonomous vehicles including Mercedes-Benz, General Motors, Continental Automotive Systems, Autoliv Inc., Bosch, Nissan, Toyota, Audi, Volvo, Vislab from University of Parma, Oxford University and Google. In July 2013, Vislab demonstrated BRAiVE, a vehicle that moved autonomously on a mixed traffic route open to public traffic.

The Apple electric car project is an electric car project undergoing research and development by Apple Inc. Apple has yet to openly discuss any of its self-driving research, but around 5,000 employees were reported to be working on the project as of 2018. In May 2018, Apple reportedly partnered with Volkswagen to produce an autonomous employee shuttle van based on the T6 Transporter commercial vehicle platform. In August 2018, the BBC reported that Apple had 66 road-registered driverless cars, with 111 drivers registered to operate those cars. In 2020, it is believed that Apple is still working on self driving related hardware, software and service as a potential product, instead of actual Apple-branded cars. In December 2020, Reuters reported that Apple was planning on a possible launch date of 2024, but analyst Ming-Chi Kuo claimed it would not be launched before 2025 and might not be launched until 2028 or later.

Robotaxi Type of autonomous car

A robotaxi, also known as a self-driving taxi or a driverless taxi, is an autonomous car operated for a ridesharing company.

Torc Robotics (Torc), a subsidiary of Daimler Trucks, is an American autonomous vehicle company headquartered in Blacksburg, Virginia. Torc produces unmanned and autonomous technology that retrofits to existing machinery and vehicles. Its custom products, software and automation kits have been used on vehicles in several industries, including military, mining agriculture, and automotive over the last decade.

kar-go Autonomous delivery vehicle

Kar-go, is an autonomous delivery vehicle, designed and built by British company, Academy of Robotics Ltd, a UK company registered in Wales. The vehicle uses self-drive / driverless car technology to drive itself to locations where it delivers packages autonomously.

Chris Urmson CEO of self-driving technology company Aurora

Chris Urmson is a Canadian engineer, academic, and entrepreneur known for his work on self-driving car technology. He is the co-founder and CEO of Aurora, a company founded in 2017 to develop self-driving technology. Urmson has been instrumental in pioneering and advancing the development of self-driving vehicles since the early 2000s.

Cruise LLC is an American self-driving car company headquartered in San Francisco, California. Founded in 2013 by Kyle Vogt and Dan Kan, Cruise tests and develops autonomous car technology.

AImotive is an autonomous vehicle technology company. The company aims works with automotive manufacturers and Tier1s to enable automated technologies. AImotive describes its approach as "vision-first", a system that primarily relies on cameras and artificial intelligence to detect its surroundings. The technology is designed to be implemented by automobile manufacturers to create autonomous vehicles, which can operate in all conditions and locations. In September 2017, PSA Group teamed up with AImotive.

A self-driving truck, also known as an autonomous truck, or robo-truck, requires no human driver, similar to self-driving cars. Several companies are said to be testing autonomous technology in semi trucks.

Buffalo Automation

Buffalo Automation is an artificial intelligence (AI) startup that develops autonomous navigation technology for commercial ships, recreational boats, and water taxis with the goal to improve maritime safety. It is a private company based in Buffalo, New York. Thiru Vikram is the CEO of the company.

Drive.ai, a subsidiary of Apple Inc., is an American technology company headquartered in Mountain View, California that uses artificial intelligence to make self-driving systems for cars. It has demonstrated a vehicle driving autonomously with a safety driver only in the passenger seat. To date, the company has raised approximately $77 million in funding. Drive.ai's technology can be modified to turn a vehicle autonomous.

Zoox (company) American company developing self-driving taxis

Zoox is an American autonomous vehicle company currently headquartered in Foster City, California, United States with multiple offices of operations throughout the San Francisco Bay Area. The company was founded in 2014, and then acquired by Amazon in 2020.

Yandex self-driving car Robotaxi project

Yandex self-driving car is a robotaxi project of the Russian-based internet corporation Yandex. The first driverless prototype launched in May 2017. As of 2018, functional service was launched in Russia with prototypes also being tested in Israel and the US.

Pony.ai is an autonomous vehicle technology company co-located in Silicon Valley, Beijing and Guangzhou. The company was founded in December 2016 by James Peng and Lou Tiancheng who were formerly developers for Baidu in Silicon Valley. In January 2018 Pony.ai completed a $112 million Series A round co-led by Morningside Venture Capital and Legend Capital with seed round lead-investor Sequoia China and investor IDG Capital also participating in the round, alongside Hongtai Capital, Legend Star, Puhua Capital, Polaris Capital, DCM Ventures, Comcast Ventures and Silicon Valley Future Capital.

Aurora, also known as Aurora Innovation, Inc., is an American self-driving vehicle technology company based in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania and in Mountain View, California. Aurora is known for developing the Aurora Driver, a computer system that can be integrated into cars for autonomous driving. Aurora was co-founded by Chris Urmson, the former chief technology officer of Google/Alphabet Inc.'s self-driving team, which became known as Waymo, as well as by Sterling Anderson, former head of Tesla Autopilot, and Drew Bagnell, former head of Uber's autonomy and perception team.

Motional is an American autonomous vehicle company founded in March 2020. as a joint venture between automaker Hyundai Motor Group and auto supplier Aptiv. Headquartered in Boston, Massachussetts, Motional also maintains locations in Pittsburgh and Singapore. Motional began testing its newest generation of vehicles in Las Vegas, Nevada in February of 2021, and also operates vehicles in Pittsburgh and Santa Monica, California.

References

  1. "Argo AI's Corporate Headquarters to Locate at 3 Crossings | 3 Crossings". 3crossingspgh.com. Retrieved 2020-07-27.
  2. "Argo AI to move to 3 Crossings project in the Strip District, sources say". Pittsburgh Post-Gazette. Retrieved 2020-07-15.
  3. 1 2 3 4 5 6 "The Relentless Startup Fast-Tracking Ford's Self-Driving Cars". Wired. ISSN   1059-1028 . Retrieved 2020-07-15.
  4. 1 2 "Ford Invests $1 Billion In Robotics Startup In Driverless Car Quest". 2017-02-10. Retrieved 2020-07-15.
  5. Wayland, Michael (2020-06-02). "Volkswagen closes $2.6 billion investment in self-driving start-up Argo AI". CNBC. Retrieved 2020-07-15.
  6. Boudette, Neal E. (2019-07-17). "Despite High Hopes, Self-Driving Cars Are 'Way in the Future'". The New York Times. ISSN   0362-4331 . Retrieved 2020-07-16.
  7. "Can Argo.AI Make Ford & Volkswagen Self-Driving Leaders?". CleanTechnica. 2020-07-05. Retrieved 2020-07-15.
  8. "The Station: Bird spikes Circ in the Middle East, Kitty Hawk folds Flyer, Cruise attempts a hiring coup". TechCrunch. Retrieved 2020-07-15.
  9. "Self-driving vehicle startup Argo AI completes $2.6B deal with Volkswagen, expands to Europe". TechCrunch. Retrieved 2020-07-27.
  10. 1 2 3 4 Korosec, Kirsten (2017-08-16). "An inside look at Ford's $1 billion bet on Argo AI". The Verge. Retrieved 2020-07-15.
  11. "Argo closes $2.6 billion round from VW at a $7.25 billion valuation". VentureBeat. 2020-06-02. Retrieved 2020-07-15.
  12. 1 2 "BRYAN SALESKY". Automotive News. 2016-12-19. Retrieved 2020-07-15.
  13. Thibodeau, Ian. "Michigan, not Silicon Valley, produced Ford's self-driving gurus". Detroit News. Retrieved 2020-07-15.
  14. "Why Detroit's Streets Are Challenging for Driverless Car Tests by Ford's Partner". www.deadlinedetroit.com. Retrieved 2020-07-27.
  15. 1 2 "Argo AI is investing $15 million into a self-driving car research center at CMU". TechCrunch. Retrieved 2020-07-15.
  16. Bhuiyan, Johana (2016-12-12). "Uber has lost three of its top self-driving engineers". Vox. Retrieved 2020-07-15.
  17. 1 2 Gardner, Greg. "Ford's Argo AI Invests $15 Million For Robocar Research Center At Carnegie Mellon". Forbes. Retrieved 2020-07-15.
  18. 1 2 "Argo AI reveals its third-generation driverless car". VentureBeat. 2019-06-12. Retrieved 2020-07-16.
  19. 1 2 3 "VW invests $2.6 billion in self-driving startup Argo AI as part of Ford alliance". TechCrunch. Retrieved 2020-07-16.
  20. "Volkswagen closes $2.6 billion investment in self-driving startup Argo AI". Reuters. 2020-06-02. Retrieved 2020-07-15.
  21. Coren, Michael J. "The staggering cost of self-driving cars is behind Ford and Volkswagen's new partnership". Quartz. Retrieved 2020-07-16.
  22. matthew.lynberg.ctr@dot.gov (2017-09-07). "Automated Vehicles for Safety". NHTSA. Retrieved 2020-07-16.
  23. Abuelsamid, Sam. "Argo AI And Ford Double Down On Lidar, Acquire Princeton Lightwave". Forbes. Retrieved 2020-07-16.
  24. 1 2 "Detroiter Magazine: April 2020". Issuu. Retrieved 2020-07-16.
  25. "Ford's Argo AI Welcomed to Miami for Self-Driving Car Testing". www.govtech.com. Retrieved 2020-07-16.
  26. Hawkins, Andrew J. (2018-10-22). "Ford will test self-driving cars in Washington, DC, with an emphasis on 'equity'". The Verge. Retrieved 2020-07-16.
  27. Wayland, Michael (2019-09-25). "Ford selects Austin to test, deploy autonomous vehicles". CNBC. Retrieved 2020-07-16.
  28. "Argo AI receives permit to test AVs in California". Automotive News. 2019-01-29. Retrieved 2020-07-16.
  29. "Robotaxis as the norm are still 'far away'". Automotive News. 2019-09-23. Retrieved 2020-07-16.
  30. Tobin, Debra (2017-11-22). "Argo AI collaborates with CMU, Georgia Tech researchers on self-driving cars". The Robotics Institute Carnegie Mellon University. Retrieved 2020-07-16.
  31. "Argo AI and CMU team up in research partnership". www.bizjournals.com. Retrieved 2020-07-16.
  32. "Self-driving car startup Argo AI is giving researchers free access to its HD maps". TechCrunch. Retrieved 2020-07-16.