Despite how optimistic the industry is about the potential of self-driving technology the costs and development has proven to be an issue.
Argo AI, along with car manufacturer partners Volkswagen and Ford, are going to focus on a different approach. These companies aren't going to create an autonomous fleet themselves but rather charge by the mile to utilize the technology as delivery vans, transportation of goods in self-driving trucks, or other autonomous uses.
These autonomous systems were led by developer Bryan Salesky who began developing self-driving cars for a Defense Department-backed competition over a decade ago is now heading up the effort to create new technology to replace autonomous taxi services.
"I hate the word robotaxi," Salesky said in an interview at Argo's Pittsburgh headquarters. "There are so many applications and businesses to be built, and (try to) understand which ones are more profitable than others."
Argo's business strategy will rest on its revenue sharing system where Argo will be paid for every mile a Ford or VW, with the Argo technology installed, travels.
Currently Argo is targeting their technology towards trucking, commercial delivery businesses, and transit across fixed routes in cities.
Started up in 2016 by Founders Bryan Salesky and current COO Pter Rander, Argo originally started creating its own autonomous technology centered around a robotic taxi fleet similar to rival Waymo. Now the company has shifted toward providing the autonomous technology to other fleets and charging a fee.
The company aims to launch its automated systems through Ford sometimes in 2021 in three US cities, most likely through a shuttle system.
VW has announced that they hope to be along shortly afterward in 2022 or 2023 with an all-electric vehicles that could be used as apart of the company's Moia ride services company.
VW has also heard some interest from transportation and ride-hailing companies about purchasing VW cars with Argo's autonomous systems installed.
This could be another avenue for Argo and its partners to earn money as these self-driving technologies are put into more cars and they begin to see more use on roads.
Salesky said the company's autonomous technology can be adapted to a variety of vehicle types, sizes and applications: "This is going to be a multi-stage thing where there are going to be a number of different platforms and potentially different businesses."
Investors have yet to buy completely into Argo's promised, valuing the company lower than rivals like Waymo, valued at around $105 billion, and Cruise, valued around $19 billion.
Currently Argo is valued around $7.25 billion after VW invested $1.9 billion into the company, which matches up with Uber's autonomous driving unit $7.25 billion evaluation.
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