Ford Motor Co. said it is creating a wholly owned subsidiary named Latitude AI to research and develop automated driving technologies.

Latitude’s formation underscores the company’s focus on automated technologies that support human drivers in personally owned vehicles.

Ford said Thursday it decided to concentrate on those types of systems rather than ones that eliminate the role of human drivers last October, when it decided to no longer back self-driving startup Argo AI.

Latitude AI will focus on developing automation categorized as SAE Levels 2 and 3. One of its initial tasks will be to develop a hands-free, eyes-off-the-road system for next-generation Ford vehicles.

Latitude AI will be headquartered in Pittsburgh, the same location of the now-defunct Argo AI. Ford hired 550 Argo employees after shuttering the startup; Latitude opens with a 550-member team focused on machine learning, robotics, software and other divisions, Ford said.

Sammy Omari, executive director of advanced driver-assist technologies, will be CEO of Latitude.

The subsidiary’s formation marks an expanded effort for the automaker in advanced driver-assist systems and conditional automation. Ford already partners with Mobileye in the driver-assist realm, and the two have worked together on its BlueCruise system.

It was not immediately clear how the creation of Latitude AI affected Ford’s ongoing development of BlueCruise.

This is a developing story, with updates forthcoming.

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