Recently, Mark Fields, Ford’s president and CEO said, “autonomous vehicles will have as significant an impact on society as Ford’s moving assembly line did 100 years ago.” And he’s backing the claim with his wallet.
Ford has pledged to invest $1 billion dollars over the next five years in Pittsburgh’s Argo AI. Argo is an artificial intelligence and robotics company. Google and Uber alumni teamed up to form the venture earlier this year. They will partner with Ford to deploy the software platform for Ford’s autonomous vehicles. If Ford wants to deliver their autonomous vehicle by 2021 they’ll definitely need Argo AI’s help. But, they’ve made a good choice – if the credentials of their founder are any indication.
Before creating Argo, Bryan Salesky was the director of hardware for Google’s self-driving program. Considering Google has already deployed some of its self-driving cars, Salesky’s resume seems good. His team will build their platform with machine learning. In the simplest terms, machine learning allows a system to “learn” without being specifically programmed. If it is exposed to new information, the machine accommodates it and improves. Rather than manually preparing an autonomous vehicle for every environmental hazard and driver behaviour it might encounter, they can let it loose to figure things out for itself
For the average person, 2021 might seem like an ambitious target. But the seeds of Ford’s investment in AI are already visible to those who know where to look. The 2017 Ford Escape, for example, possesses the following autonomous features:
With all of those systems applied and correctly used, full autonomy doesn’t seem like a distant target. To check out the latest driver-assistance features from Ford, visit Capital or call us at 877-829-0698.