Ford just invested $1 billion in a secretive AI startup founded by former Google and Uber execs

Ford is investing $1 billion in a secretive artificial intelligence startup headed by former Google and Uber execs to advance its self-driving car efforts.

The startup, Argo AI, was founded by Bryan Salesky, the former director of hardware for Google’s self-driving-car efforts, and Peter Rander, Uber’s engineering lead at its autonomous cars center.

The $1 billion investment will be spread out over five years as Ford looks to commercialize its self-driving technology by 2021.

Argo AI will leverage roboticists and engineers from inside and outside of Ford to develop a virtual driver system for the autonomous vehicles in 2021, Ford wrote in a press release. The virtual driver system will use machine learning, a branch of artificial intelligence that improves with experience, to act as the brain of Ford’s self-driving cars.

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