July 12 (UPI) -- Ford and Volkswagen AG will expand their alliance to include electric vehicles and collaborate with Argo AI to develop self-driving vehicles, the companies announced Friday.
Argo AI plans to deploy the first self-driving system for ride sharing and goods delivery in dense urban areas and will tap the global reach of Ford and VW to get the largest deployment potential of any autonomous driving technology to date.
Argo is located in Pittsburgh, Pa.
The two automakers will have an equal stake in Argo AI and together they will have a substantial majority. The transaction is subject to regulatory approvals.
"While Ford and Volkswagen remain independent and fiercely competitive in the marketplace, teaming up and working with Argo AI on this important technology allows us to deliver unmatched capability, scale and geographic reach," Ford CEO Jim Hackett said. "Unlocking the synergies across a range of areas allows us to showcase the power of our global alliance in this era of smart vehicles for a smart world."
The partnership will also allow Ford to use VW's dedicated electric vehicle architecture and modular electric toolkit to deliver high-volume electric vehicles in Europe in 2023. Ford expects to deliver 600,000 European vehicles over six years. A second all-new Ford model for European customers is also under discussion.
Through its subsidiary Electrify America, VW is funding the installation of electric charging stations throughout the United States. It's part of a $10 billion settlement with the U.S. government over the diesel emission scandal of 2016. Walmart has already opened 120 charging locations and plans to open many more.
"The cars of the future must above all be driverless, electric and safe," VW CEO Herbet Diess said in a statement. "By accelerating its group wide electric offensive, Volkswagen has set the stage for transforming drive technology. It goes without saying that we will see various types of driverless cars on our streets soon."