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Argo AI, a Ford-backed autonomous driving start-up, set to go public this year




Argo AI, the autonomous start-up backed by Ford Motor Co. and Volkswagen Group, plans to go public as early as this year, according to people familiar with its plans.

Bryan Salesky, co-founder of Argo, told employees at an all-attendee meeting on April 1 that the company looks to increase funding as it nears commercialization of its autonomous driving technology, said people, who asked not to be identified, revealing inside information. discussions. Ford, which invested $ 1 billion in Argo in 2017, plans to deploy autonomous taxis and driverless delivery pods in 2022.

Argo had a market value of over $ 7 billion when Volkswagen made its $ 2.6 billion investment in the company last July. VW, the world’s best-selling automaker, plans to put self-driving vehicles on the road later this decade.

As technology moves closer to reality, major players, such as Alphabet Inc.’s Waymo, General Motor’s Cruise, and Aurora Innovation Inc., should consider public offerings to meet funding needs. croissants. Chinese autonomous truck start-up TuSimple Inc. has just revealed its intention to sell shares in an IPO. The driverless truck startup Plus is in talks with special purpose acquisition companies for a merger, a route several EV companies have used to go public.

The timing is right for Argo as it is in the advanced stages of its technology development, with tests underway in six cities including Miami, a new lidar guidance system, and a clear path to commercialization through partnerships. with two of the world’s largest automakers, the people have said.

The startup is still working on details with its auto partners and it’s unclear whether it will do a traditional IPO or merge with a PSPC, people said. And the plans could slip into next year, the people said.

“ Financial track ”

“We have a solid financial track through investments from our partners Ford and Volkswagen, but we have always said that we are open to additional partnerships or investment opportunities to further accelerate our growth,” Argo said in a statement. .

Information reported earlier on Argo’s plans to go public.

Salesky, who helped start Google’s self-driving car project that became Waymo, co-founded Argo in late 2016 with Peter Rander, a former Uber Technologies Inc. Autonomous Auto Operations alumnus Salesky expressed interest in s ‘partner with an Asian car manufacturer to allow Argo to reach all major regions.

“We have a strong global player, strong in Europe, VW and Ford being strong in the United States,” Salesky said in 2019 as the deal with VW was announced. “A third player is absolutely possible.”

Argo’s workforce has grown to 1,300 and now operates in the United States and Germany.

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