Autonomous Vehicles

VW may invest in Argo AI as part of greater Ford partnership, report says

The two companies value Argo AI at approximately $4 billion, sources told Bloomberg.

A quick look at Argo AI's development cars makes it pretty clear who's backing the operation.

Ford

Ford and Volkswagen are still hard at working forging the details of a partnership that is set to expand beyond the announcement the pair made at the Detroit Auto Show, potentially opening the door for VW to invest in a company that caught Ford's eye in 2017.

It's possible that Ford and VW's partnership could see the German automaker "work[ing] with and investing in" Argo AI, Bloomberg reports, citing sources familiar with the ongoing negotiations. VW declined to comment to Roadshow, and while Ford said talks are still ongoing, a spokesperson didn't delve into specifics. Both automakers declined to discuss specifics with Bloomberg, as well. According to Bloomberg's sources, the two value Argo AI at approximately $4 billion.

Volkswagen and Ford continue to discuss how the two can expand a partnership that was first announced in January after months of reports. For now, the partnership is limited to commercial vans and midsize trucks, with Ford building a new midsize truck for both OEMs by 2022. Both companies stressed the desire to minimize development costs and improve profit margins.

Even during the January announcement, the two automakers said they were also looking into ways the two could combine efforts in "autonomous vehicles, mobility services and electric vehicles." The most popular rumor along those lines thus far is that VW will let Ford make use of its one-size-fits-all MEB electric platform, which will underpin the first generation of dedicated VW electric cars under the I.D. tagline. You're probably already familiar with the I.D. Buzz electric microbus, which is slated to hit markets around 2022. However, nothing to this end is set in stone yet.

Ford first invested in Argo AI in 2017, and since then, it's helped the company flesh out its autonomous-vehicle development. In late January, Argo AI received its permit to test AVs on public roads in California, marking the fifth location where Argo will test its hardware and software. Meanwhile, VW has launched Moia, a sharing-first mobility brand that aims to remove 1 million cars from cities in Europe and the US by 2025, replacing them with shared mobility schemes.