Ford invests $1B in robotics startup in driverless car quest

Ford Motor will spend $1 billion to take over a robotics startup to acquire more of the expertise needed to reach its ambitious goal of having a fully driverless vehicle on the road by 2021.

The big bet announced Friday comes just a few months after the Pittsburgh startup, Argo AI, was created by two alumni of Carnegie Mellon University’s robotics program, Bryan Salesky and Peter Rander.

Ford is counting on Salesky and Rander to hire about 200 employees during the next year while overseeing the development of the technology required for a vehicle without a steering wheel or brake pedals to drive itself. Ford CEO Mark Fields wants the robotic car done by 2021.

The $1 billion investment in Argo will be spread over a five-year period.