Two of the world's biggest car manufacturers are forging an alliance towards developing technologies aimed for the electric and autonomous segments. Both Ford Motors and Volkswagen AG have confirmed on Thursday that they are expanding their alliance which was revealed in January. The expansion will cover joint development and collaboration on the development of autonomous and electric vehicles.
Not much was revealed during the announcement of this alliance expansion. However, many believe that the details of this expansion will be revealed at a New York press conference scheduled on Friday. The two companies said that Volkswagen Chief Executive Officer Herbert Diess and Ford Chief Executive Jim Hackett will both appear at the scheduled press conference. Nevertheless, it was not confirmed whether what will be tackled on the press conference.
Among the expected agenda is a potential investment by Volkswagen towards Argo AI, the autonomous driving system company in which Ford has a majority stake. Another matter that is expected to be discussed is Volkswagen's contribution to the collaboration which is rumored to be valued around $2 billion.
Both Volkswagen and Ford declined to comment on the matter. However, a Ford spokesperson did confirm that the two companies are in productive talks regarding a number of areas. The spokesperson added that more details about this growing alliance will be revealed on Friday.
As for investments geared towards the development of artificial intelligence and self-driving technologies, Ford has pledged to invest $4 billion into the industry by 2023. Ford established its Ford Autonomous Vehicles division in 2018 for this very reason. It most valuable acquisition to date is when it bought Argo AI, a startup based in Pittsburgh that specializes in the development of software for self-driving cars. The two car companies have been in discussion on how to share the burden when it comes to the development of electric and autonomous cars.
It would appear that car makers are joining forces in order to tackle the enigma that is self-driving cars. Aside from the Ford-Volkswagen alliance, a number of auto manufacturers have also forged their own alliance. In 2018, Honda joined forces with General Motors in the development of autonomous vehicles. Honda poured in $2.75 billion into GM's Cruise Automation self-driving car division. Alphabet, Google's parent company, acquired Waymo and partnered with Fiat Chrysler Automobiles and Jaguar Land Rover in its development of its own self-driving cars.
From the looks of it, the world is really geared towards autonomous driving cars, and manufacturers are looking ahead to this competition.