Oct 26, 2022 - Economy

Ford, VW pullout dooms self-driving tech company Argo AI

A Ford Escape equipped with Argo AI's self-driving technology

Ford is pulling the plug on robotaxi development with Argo AI. Photo courtesy of Argo

Ford and Volkswagen are pulling the plug on their autonomous vehicle joint venture, Argo AI, which had failed to find other investors and is shutting down its operations.

Why it matters: The retreat by the two giant automakers is a strong signal that the path to fully self-driving cars is too long — and too expensive.

Driving the news: Ford said it had recorded a $2.7 billion pre-tax loss on its Argo investment, resulting in an overall net loss of $827 million for the third quarter.

  • VW will likely take a financial hit too.
  • Some of Argo's 2,000 employees are expected to be offered jobs with the two automakers.

What they're saying: "We're optimistic about a future for L4 ADAS, but profitable, fully autonomous vehicles at scale are a long way off, and we won't necessarily have to create that technology ourselves," Ford CEO Jim Farley said in a statement, using an industry term for fully self-driving vehicles.

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