Ford Motoring CO. has announced plans to create a separate self-driving vehicle operations unit with a $4bn investment, following a similar move in late May by Detroit rival General Motors Co with its Cruise Automation unit.
The cash includes $1 billion Ford had previously had earmarked for Argo AI, the Pittsburgh-based self-driving startup it acquired in 2017.
The new unit will be headed by vice president Sherif Marakby according to reports, and based at Ford’s new Corktown campus in Detroit. It will house self-driving vehicle research, engineering and systems integration, as well as business strategy and development departments.
The business unit will also be structured to take on outside investment, as Ford jostles with competitors for a seat at the top table of driverless cars.
Chief executive Jim Hackett said: “Ford has made tremendous progress across the self-driving value chain – from technology development to business model innovation to user experience. Now is the right time to consolidate our autonomous driving platform into one team to best position the business for the opportunities ahead.”