After cutting ties with Argo AI last fall, Ford has decided to establish an in-house self-driving technology division.
Called Latitude AI, the 550-staff division will initially focus on developing a hands-free, eyes-off driver-assist system for Ford vehicles, similar to systems being rolled out by other automakers, like Mercedes-Benz’s Drive Pilot and Volvo’s Ride Pilot. In contrast, Argo AI was developing a fully automated driving system to be used in a commercial service, like a robotaxi fleet.
Ford’s current Bluecruise automated driver-assist system, and the related Lincoln Activeglide system, still requires the driver to monitor the road at all times. As a result, it only ranks at Level 2 on the SAE scale of self-driving technology. A Level 3 system is the first level where a driver is able to take his or her eyes off the road, and is what Latitude AI is developing.
Ford owned Argo AI together with Volkswagen Group, and most of the facilities and staff at Latitude AI are formerly of Argo AI, Ford said. Latitude AI’s headquarters are also in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, where Argo AI was headquartered. The new company has additional engineering hubs in Michigan and California. The company will also operate a test track simulating highway driving in South Carolina.
Heading Latitude AI is Sammy Omari, who is also head of automated driver-assist technology at Ford and was previously head of engineering at Hyundai Motor Group-backed self-driving technology company Motional. Peter Carr, a former senior engineer at Argo AI, serves as chief technology officer at Latitude AI.
After cutting its own ties with Argo AI, VW Group continues to develop self-driving technology at its in-house software division Caiard. The automaker also plans to announce a new partner for its planned robotaxi service due to launch in 2025, a service that was previously being developed with Argo AI.