After terminating its investment in autonomous driving development Argo AI in October 2022, Ford today announced the launch of a new firm that would hire many of the employees who previously worked on robotaxi projects.
Pittsburgh, where Argo AI was based, will be the home of Latitude AI, a wholly-owned subsidiary. The new business will concentrate on creating the hands-free and eyes-only partial automation solutions that Ford anticipates will soon bring in new sales and profits.
How will Latitude AI improve upon Argo AI?
The establishment of Latitude does make one wonder why a separate subsidiary business was established as opposed to carrying on within the broader Ford structure. Ford hasn’t commented at this point, but the reason the company didn’t just completely absorb Argo when it originally invested in the company in 2017 could be related to recruiting.
Latitude has the option to offer employees shares as part of their compensation, as most software businesses, including Argo, have done. If Ford decides to conduct an IPO in the future, when the stock market is stronger and Latitude has proven its worth, those employees could profit significantly more than they would from a straight pay.
Latitude may also find it simpler to sell its goods to other automakers as a separate company. Ford and Latitude aren’t predicting this, but it may happen. Latitude is independent from the established culture that still permeates the parent corporation and is able to move more quickly because it is a stand-alone business with headquarters in Pittsburgh.
Argo’s former headquarters in Pittsburgh will now house Latitude AI. Sammy Omari, a former vice president of engineering at Motional, joined the Ford Model E team last fall as the executive director of ADAS technologies. He is currently Latitude’s CEO as well.
As the automaker grows and expands its development efforts in automated driving technology, including improvements in Ford BlueCruise, which has already logged more than 50 million miles of hands-free driving, Latitude AI adds a top team of machine learning, robotics, software, sensors, systems engineering, and operations talent.
By automating driving in situations that can be tiresome, frustrating, and unpleasant, including bumper-to-bumper traffic or on lengthy stretches of highway, Latitude is rethinking the consumer experience. According to the transportation analytics company INRIX, the typical American driver spends close to 100 hours per year stuck in traffic.
Latitude’s CEO will also be Sammy Omari, executive director of ADAS Technology at Ford. Peter Carr is appointed chief technology officer, in charge of managing the technological and product development at Latitude, while David Gollob is designated president, in charge of managing the company’s operations.
“We believe automated driving technology will help improve safety while unlocking all-new customer experiences that reduce stress and in the future will help free up a driver’s time to focus on what they choose,” says Omari. “The expertise of the Latitude team will further complement and enhance Ford’s in-house global ADAS team in developing future driver assist technologies, ultimately delivering on the many benefits of automation.”
You can find further information about the Latitude AI in Ford’s official article.
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