Ford to invest US$4 bil in new self-driving vehicle unit

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(July 24): Ford Motor Co said it would invest US$4 billion through 2023 in its newly formed autonomous vehicle unit, Ford Autonomous Vehicles LLC, as it looks to produce self-driving cars in the next three years.

The No 2 US automaker said the new unit would include self-driving systems integration, autonomous vehicle research and advanced engineering.

The unit, which would be headed by Vice President Sherif Marakby, would be based at Ford's Corktown campus in Detroit and will hold Ford's ownership stake in Argo AI — its Pittsburgh-based partner for self-driving system development.

Ford said the US$4 billion investment includes the $1 billion it announced in Argo AI last year.

Ford and BMW both plan to deploy self-driving cars in 2021. Tesla Inc has talked about creating a network of self-driving cars and Uber says it is sticking with a development effort despite an accident in which its self-driving car killed a woman in Arizona.

The No 1 US automaker General Motors Co already has an autonomous vehicle unit, Cruise, which it acquired in 2016.