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Ford CEO Jim Farley Says Company Hired 600 Argo Engineers

Last October, some rather surprising news broke revealing that Argo AI – a self-driving tech company backed by Ford and Volkswagen – was shutting down, largely because The Blue Oval discovered that Level 4 and 5 autonomy isn’t expected to be viable or profitable anytime soon. Instead, Ford is focusing on Level 2 and 3 tech and enhancing its existing BlueCruise and ActiveGlide features. Meanwhile, Amazon opted not to save the company prior to its folding, while Ford and VW are looking to sell off much of it. However, both automakers noted from the start that some Argo AI employees would be offered new jobs, and that appears to be the case at The Blue Oval, according to Ford CEO Jim Farley.

“And at the end of last year, our customers using BlueCruise have now traveled 42 million hands-free miles,” Farley said while speaking on the automaker’s Q4 2022 earnings call with investors. “So we’re scaling incredibly rapidly. That’s a fourfold increase in the millions of miles driven since the second quarter of last year. And we have incredible software talent, making this system better every day, including those 600 former Argo engineers who are now working full time at Ford on our autonomous systems.”

While Ford is focused on Level 2 and 3 self-driving technology for now, it hasn’t lost focus of its ultimate goal – a fully self-driving, Level 5 vehicle – though such a machine isn’t expected to arrive any time soon. Regardless, these engineers will continue to work to develop the automaker’s existing autonomous tech from within the walls of The Blue Oval’s facilities.

Meanwhile, Argo AI’s test vehicles ceased operating last October, but as Ford Authority reported in November, what appeared to be a former Argo Fusion prototype was spotted driving around with its logos covered up, though the company later noted that this was not, in fact, one of its vehicles. Regardless, we do know that FoMoCo will continue to develop this sort of tech moving forward, and it has a number of former Argo workers on staff doing precisely that.

We’ll have more on Ford’s autonomous vehicle push soon, so be sure and subscribe to Ford Authority for non-stop Ford news coverage.

Brett's lost track of all the Fords he's owned over the years and how much he's spent modifying them, but his current money pits include an S550 Mustang and 13th gen F-150.

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Comments

  1. JimL

    Good to hear. A lot of excellent people in my hometown of Pittsburgh were caught up in the Argo shutdown.

    Reply
  2. whypac

    Wait a minute. Farley was just quoted as saying Ford employs 25% more engineers than they needed. So why the hell did Ford hire 600 new engineers?

    Reply
    1. RWFA

      Haven’t you been paying attention?

      Engineers specialize.

      Hardly going to be able to use an ICE powertrain engineer for software or AI projects.

      Reply
      1. Thomas

        I understand that these engineers do not have to be paid?
        Then why all the fuss about the cost

        Reply
        1. RWFA

          ?

          Reply
  3. Mark B

    I guess the company is really serious about having vehicles drive themselves. Maybe with the declining abilities of most who pilot vehicles these days it’s not such a poor idea.

    Reply
  4. Brad Barefoot

    600 Argo employees Farley ? How about you fire them, hire 600 Assembly line workers and get the production numbers up in say … the Maverick Factory, or Transit Connect Factory. Am I the only one who sees an thinks most of Farley’s decisions are questionable ? When you’ve got standing orders for Mavericks, Broncos, Bronco Sports, & Rangers, you waste money on auto-drive vehicles for a very narrow customer base. Farley … get it together and build what we want, and stop listening to the DC fools whose daily desire is to ruin the United States.

    Reply
    1. RWFA

      Yes, you are the only one.

      Reply
  5. Bob

    600 engineers? Has Farley learned anything. In software its quality not quantity that gets results. All he did is hire a bunch of people that will have meetings about what needs to be done. I agree with @Brad Barefoot he should have fired 600 Assembly line workers and up his production of the products he has. Ford is what number 4 now?

    Reply
    1. RWFA

      And to think I thought Brad Barebrain was alone in his ignorance.

      Reply
  6. Mike says...

    I doubt that their will ever be a Ford designed level 5 system and a GM version and a Toyota version and you get the idea…. For compatibility, safety and risk mitigation… there will be only one system in the end and everyone will have to pay to have/use it. This is the future business opportunity that matters and it will make a lot of money. I am just not sure anyone in tumble weed Saskatchewan or lost my place Idaho need it, want it or care too hoots about it?

    Reply
    1. RWFA

      I agree that isolated non interactive systems are unlikely. I expect there will need to be interoperability standards added into FMVSS.

      I see it like the growth of smart home tech. For the last 1/2 decade there has been balkanization between Google, Apple, Amazon, etc. Now we see that these players and many others have developed the Matter standard, this will make these devices and services more interoperable, robust, cheaper and quicker to develop, and all this will speed adoption and refinement.

      Reply
  7. RiskyBusiness

    I don’t see how fully autonomous cars will be viable in our “look for deep pockets and sue, sue, sue culture”. There will always be some accidents and if someone is in a so called fully autonomous vehicle they will be going to the manufacturer for their Mega Millions Lottery payout. No way around it- if I don’t have a steering wheel, brake or accel. pedal, then the manufacturer Iis liable. Come on, we are all bombarded lawyer ads you can see the culture we are living in. The engineers will figure out the technology challenges but the legal challenges will remain and unfortunately manufacturers who take on this risk will pay the price.

    Reply
    1. RWFA

      If OEMs were concerned about the risk of not being able to manage civil suits and damage claims we would have seen them not pursuing this technology.

      Reply

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