German automaker Volkswagen AG has completed its $2.6 billion investment in Argo AI, the Pittsburgh-based self-driving startup disclosed in a blog post on Tuesday.
Argo, founded in 2016 by Bryan Salesky and Peter Rander, is now jointly controlled by Volkswagen and Ford Motor Co, which made an initial investment in Argo shortly after it was founded.
Details of the Volkswagen investment, which does not include an agreement to purchase $500 million worth of Argo stock from Ford, was announced last July.
John Lawler, CEO, Ford Autonomous Vehicles LLC, and Ford Motor Company Vice President, Mobility Partnerships, released the following statement early Tuesday after news of VW's investment was announced:
Last July, Ford and Volkswagen announced a collaboration with Argo AI to introduce autonomous vehicle technology in the U.S. and Europe. As part of this collaboration, Volkswagen would join Ford in investing in Argo AI. Working together with Argo AI positions both Ford and Volkswagen to better serve our future customers while improving cost and capital efficiencies. While the uncertainty of today’s business environment has created challenges for partnerships and investments in the self-driving space, this collaboration remains on track and will be a positive development for everyone involved. As a result, Volkswagen’s investment in Argo AI was finalized June 1.
Volkswagen's agreement includes the transfer to Argo of its Munich-based Autonomous Intelligent Driving unit, which boosts Argo's employment to more than 1,000, according to Salesky.
Last week, Volkswagen disclosed that its supervisory board had approved several projects in a multibillion-dollar alliance with Ford that also was announced last July.
Ford created Ford Autonomous Vehicles LLC in 2018, pledging to invest $4 billion until 2023 and had sought outside investors to help share the spiraling cost of developing autonomous vehicles.