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Argo AI, the self-driving company previously backed by Ford and VW, is closing down, according to reports from TechCrunch and confirmed by The Robot Report.
An Argo AI spokesperson gave this statement from the company to The Robot Report, “In coordination with our shareholders, the decision has been made that Argo AI will not continue on its mission as a company. Many of the employees will receive an opportunity to continue work on automated driving technology with either Ford or Volkswagen, while employment for others will unfortunately come to an end.”
Argo AI’s founders, CEO Bryan Salesky and President Peter Rander told its estimated 2,000 employees Wednesday during an all-company meeting that Ford and VW would be absorbing parts of the company, and that some employees would receive offers from the two companies. Other employees were told they would receive severance packages that would include insurance and two separate bonuses, an annual award and a transaction bonus when the deal with Ford and VW closes, according to reporting from TechCrunch.
Salesky and Rander said in a statement, “We are incredibly grateful for the dedication of the Argo AI team, and so proud of our achievements together. The team consistently delivered above and beyond, and we expect to see success for everyone in whatever comes next, including the opportunities presented by Ford and VW to continue their work on automated driving technology.”
Ford and VW announced today in their respective third-quarter earnings calls that the companies would be ending their investments in the self-driving company.
Despite a round of layoffs earlier this year in Argo AI’s Washington D.C. operation, the company had recently expanded its robotaxi services by starting operations in Austin, Texas. It even had plans for a larger commercial deployment in Las Vegas in 2023.
Salesky and Rander founded Argo AI in 2016 as a spin-out from Carnegie Mellon University and came out of stealth in 2017 with a $1 billion investment from Ford. Since then, it has raised another $2.6 billion, primarily from Ford and VW, and secured partnerships with Walmart and Lyft.