TechTalk Argo AI

Published on October 29th, 2022 | by Sounder Rajen


Argo AI Autonomous Driving Forced To Retire

Is this the end of just Argo AI or all autonomous driving?

Argo AI is a startup company that started in 2017 and was backed by both Ford Motor Company (Ford) and Volkswagen Group (Volkswagen), with the former investing USD1 billion into the start up. Coincidentally, 2017 also saw a huge jump in autonomous vehicle startups and an increase in funding deals by about 39 percent.

Level 2 Self Driving Car

These are all really good signs, yet today, we get news that Argo AI is now being forced to shut down. This comes after Ford announced that since Argo AI was unable to attract new investors in 2022, the company would be allocating fewer resources to autonomous vehicles and instead invest more heavily in other sectors.

So what will happen to current Argo AI employees? Well, the company will be shut down and most employees will be absorbed into the two main backing companies, Ford and Volkswagen but it is still unclear as to how many people exactly will be joining Ford, Volkswagen or face unemployment entirely.

Moreover, this becomes even more concerning when one remembers that in July, Argo AI already laid off around 150 employees as part of an adjustment strategy to its business plans. So what happens now? Is this really the end of autonomous driving as a whole or just an unfortunate fate for one specific autonomous driving company?

Argo AI

We have to keep in mind that autonomous driving is still viewed as a dangerous technology, despite all the brands who regularly utilize this tech, Argo AI along with other big names know, all too well, that insurance providers are very upset with this tech as in the event of an accident, who is to blame? The driver or the tech?

On top of that, Ford has stated that they are most likely to buy their autonomous driving technology in time to come, so is Ford hinting that maybe this is only the end for Argo AI and not autonomous driving as a whole? Maybe, but maybe not. Yes, it is true that most startups will fail, but with so many failing at the same time?

Surely, this is no coincidence, right? Perhaps I’m being paranoid but we all know the car industry is very volatile and can change in the blink of an eye. Don’t forget that 10 years ago, the sedan was the superior car, now the SUV is king and less than 50 years ago electric vehicles (EVs) were seen as a hoax, now well… you get the point.

Argo AI

So is this the end of autonomous driving and not just Argo AI? Well I don’t really know but my guess is that it could be the end of all self driving startups. However, until we know more, I don’t want to make any assumptions and for now, it looks like autonomous driving is here to stay, but whether that is a good or bad thing, I will let you decide.

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