Ford and its partner Volkswagen decided to shut down the pair’s autonomous commercial vehicle company Argo AI back in October 2022, a decision that was made as the two came to the conclusion that Level 4 and 5 autonomy isn’t currently viable, nor close to being profitable. However, Ford hired around 600 former Argo AI engineers and is using the company’s old buildings to launch its own self-driving company called Latitude AI, which will focus on Level 2 and 3 autonomy, starting with an L3 version of BlueCruise. Meanwhile, Ford’s cross-town rival General Motors is stuck dealing with a PR nightmare after one of its Cruise AVs trapped and drug a pedestrian down the road after that person was hit by another vehicle last year. The repercussions of that incident are still being felt, and are now leading to a pretty major budget cut for Cruise from its parent company, according to GM Authority.
After slashing its budget for Cruise by hundreds of millions this past November, General Motors will cut an additional $1 billion from its budget in 2024, according to the automaker’s CFO, Paul Jacobson. “Our planned 2024 investment in Cruise reflects our more deliberate and cadence go-to-market strategy, and we are developing new financial targets and a new roadmap,” said CEO Mary Barra. “Spending will be down considerably this year, but we will continue to invest in the people who are advancing the software, specialized hardware, and AI capabilities.”
“We are committed to Cruise. When we look at the technology, the foundational technology is sound,” Barra added. “We had already demonstrated and validated externally that Cruise technology is already safer than a human driver. One of the things we’ve learned is humans expect technology computers to be much more safe than their expectations they have for other people. And with that knowledge, we are already working on what the level of the technology needs to be to meet the consumer’s expectations.”
Meanwhile, GM is still dealing with the fallout of the aforementioned incident, which halted Cruise’s operations temporarily, though they’re expected to restart soon. The company’s CEO and founder Kyle Vogt resigned shortly after that incident – while several other executives were fired – and as Ford Authority reported last month, GM may ultimately cancel its planned Ultra Cruise feature as a result as well.