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Ford's new AI subsidiary wants to create hands-free, eyes-off driver assist systems

Latitude AI hopes you'll be able to take your eyes off the road someday.

y_carfan via Getty Images

Hate sitting in rush hour traffic? Ford knows you do — and the company is doubling down on developing automated driving technology to help make traffic a little more tolerable. Today, Ford announced the creation of Latitude AI, a wholly owned subsidiary that aims to make driving less stressful, specifically in "bumper-to-bumper traffic or on long stretches of highway."

The idea seems to be to develop a more advanced version of Ford BlueCruise — but without sensors that warn drivers to pay attention if their eyes wander from the road. Ford's announcement instead imagines the system giving drivers an "eyes-off-the-road" experience that can give them "some of their day back."

This isn't the first time Ford has spun off part of its company to focus on automation. Back in 2018, it founded Ford Autonomous Vehicles LLC to focus on developing self-driving car technology. Later, that group was placed under the umbrella of Ford Next, a unit formed in 2021 to help Ford manage startups, new mobility services and manage the company's stake in Argo AI. This new company seems to be a way to continue Argo AI's work following its closure last year: Ford says 550 of Latitude AI's new employees are former Argo AI workers.

Ford previously promised to invest $29 billion in electric and autonomous vehicles by 2025. Forming Latitude AI shows that the company is still serious about the investment, despite Argo AI's closure in 2022. “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," Latitude AI CEO Sammy Omari said in a company statement.