Ford’s self-driving car subsidiary Argo AI has been very busy of late trying to get a massive investment from VW to help it get the money it needs to continue its autonomous vehicle research. An investment from VW is looking more likely as VW pulled out of a deal it had in place with a company called Aurora. Argo AI also recently announced that it was giving its HD maps away for free to researchers in the self-driving vehicle realm.
Argo AI as now announced that it is investing $15 million into establishing a Center For Autonomous Vehicle Research at Carnegie Mellon University (CMU) with the stated goal of improving self-driving technology. The $15 million grant is for five years, and the Center For Autonomous Vehicle Research will focus on improving sensor perception and algorithms designed to enhance autonomous vehicle safety and reliability in a range of conditions, including winter weather.
The Center For Autonomous Vehicle Research will particularly focus on making self-driving vehicles safer in snow and construction zones. Argo AI isn’t the first self-driving vehicle firm that has had a Center For Autonomous Vehicle Research at the university. CMU previously partnered with GM, Uber, and other transportation companies for research. CMU ended the partnership with Uber after the ride-hailing service began to hire professors and engineers from the CMU National Robotics Engineering Center.
Argo AI co-founder Bryan Salesky, who is the current CEO, and Peter Rander both worked at CMU before founding Argo AI. Salesky had worked at the CMU National Robotics Engineering Center and has previously been part of the Google self-driving car team. Rander earned his masters and Ph.D. from CMU and also worked in the National Robotics Engineering Center. The Center For Autonomous Vehicle Research will be led by Deva Ramanan, an associate professor at the CMU Robotics Institute and currently the head of Argo AI’s machine learning research.