During a Wednesday (October 27) all-hands meeting, Argo AI personnel were notified that some people might receive offers from the two =manufacturers. It was not clear how many would be hired by VW or Ford or which businesses would receive Argo’s technology.
Employees to receive severance package
In addition, employees were informed that they would be earning two different bonuses as part of their severance package, including insurance.
One is an annual award, while the other is a transaction incentive upon the deal close with Volkswagen and Ford. These would be obtained by all Argo employees.
Argo employees Ford and Volkswagen would not hire would receive termination and severance pay, including health insurance.
Sources who spoke with TechCrunch noted that it was a generous package offer. The autonomous driving startup’s founders personally addressed its more than 2,000 employees.
“In coordination with our shareholders, the decision has been made that Argo AI will not continue on its mission as a company. Many of the employees will receive an opportunity to continue work on automated driving technology with either Ford or Volkswagen, while employment for others will unfortunately come to an end.” per the issued statement by Argo.
Ford’s CEO Jim Farley tweeted his thoughts on Argo’s update in a thread online. According to him, the addition of Argo alumni to Ford’s ranks would let the company produce more advanced versions of BlueCruise, the veteran automaker’s driver-assist system.
“I have the greatest respect for the team at Argo AI & what they’ve accomplished. I’m excited we’re going to bring in many of these brilliant people to Ford to help us create a terrific L3 BlueCruise system that enables our customers to travel w/o their eyes on the road. This is a mission at Ford to change travel for the many rather than the few.”
“Yes, there is potential for attractive revenue streams tied to L3. But at the end of the day, it’s about giving millions of people time back & lesson the monotony of highway miles & stop-and-go traffic. As for the future of true L4 autonomy: We still believe it will be incredibly impactful in the long term. The muscles we build w/ our new talent in deploying a transformative BlueCruise L3 system will be essential to the future of accessible, driverless vehicles in everyday life,” said Farley.
Argo’s rise in 2017
Argo was founded in 2016 by Bryan Salesky and Peter Rander. They had worked in Google’sand Uber’s self-driving programs previously. It hit 2017 big time, under which Ford announced an investment of $1 billion for five years into the company.
Later, Volkswagen joined the business, expecting to benefit from the firm’s developments in autonomous driving.