01 Jul 2019

Volkswagen, Ford Move Towards Partnership in Autonomous Vehicles

The two companies are reportedly nearing a deal
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Germany’s Volkswagen and America's Ford—two of the world’s largest automakers could be nearing a tie-up as partners in the development of autonomous vehicles.

CEO of Volkswagen, Herbert Diess confirmed earlier in June that top-level talks between the two on the subject were “progressing well”.

According to reporting by Bloomberg, the deal could include an investment in Ford’s autonomous side-project Argo AI, which the carmaker has been backing through investment deals.

A deal between Volkswagen and Ford could be on the cards to be announced as early as July.

Analysts say that the deal could potentially allow the two carmakers to scale up their existing research and development in the area, with a second major carmaker like Volkswagen investing in Argo AI likely to expedite its work.

Earlier this year Diess described Ford as “one of the pioneers on autonomous”, so the German brand clearly has some warm feelings towards the American’s work so far.

Speaking with Automotive News, principal research analyst at Navigant Research, Sam Abuelsamid said that any deals between Ford and Volkswagen in the autonomous space would be a vote of confidence in Argo AI’s progress.

"They see it as being further along and closer to being production-ready than what they were seeing from Aurora."

Aurora is another autonomous vehicle research start-up, though it was dumped by Volkswagen earlier in June in favour or Argo AI.

Aurora subsequently announced it was doing deals with Fiat Chrysler instead.

Abuelsamid that Volkswagen and Ford working together  “would make a formidable team.”

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