An enhanced alliance between Ford Motor Co and Volkswagen AG that includes a partnership in the Ford Argo AI self-drive unit can revise the balance of power in autonomous vehicles.
A Ford-VW with Argo, the Pittsburgh-based startup that has led the development of Ford’s self-drive since 2017, can help reduce engineering and financial loads for any automaker. It can also accelerate deployment times for both, which have said they plan to set up autonomous vehicles in 2021.
Argo has been overlooked, as Waymo, the company’s self-driver subsidiary, Alphabet Inc has set up its robo-vans and the Automation Cruise Automation subsidiary of General Motors Co. has invested in billions of dollars in investment.
With VW, the world’s largest vehicle manufacturer from the sales volume last year, Argo will be close to a respected partner and sources.
Ford and VW said on Thursday that they are expanding their global alliance and that the main leaders of both companies will hold a press conference in New York on Friday, where they are expected to announce details on a technology-sharing deal.
A Ford-VW deal that includes Argo may have wider implications for similar alliances, as well as initial company related ratings.
Argo’s previous valuations have gone from $ 2 billion to $ 4 billion. Depending on the size of a VW investment, this estimate may rise to $ 7 billion, according to a source familiar with Ford-VW discussions.
In comparison, Cruise’s value rose to 19 billion dollars earlier this year after attracting more than $ 6 billion in investment from SoftBank Group Honda Motor Co. and T. Rowe Price.
The Uber Technologies Advanced Technologies Group travel service value climbed to more than $ 7 billion a year earlier since SoftBank, Toyota Motor Corp and Denso Corp. invested $ 1 billion.
These estimates are dwarfed by estimates for Waymo, who is widely accepted as the sector leader. Morgan Stanley estimates Waymo up to $ 175 billion, while Jefferies estimates the company up to $ 250 billion.
Both estimates take into account the newly formed Robot business of Waymos and potential future revenue streams from a distribution service and vehicle-transmitted services, including e-commerce and infotainment.
VW, whose Audi drive heads the Automated Intelligence Driving unit of German vehicles in Munich, is said to be considering a $ 13.7 billion investment last year at Waymo for a 10 percent stake that would rate Waymo at $ 137 billion.
VW recently concluded a development agreement with Aurora, the launch of Silicon Valley self-driving involving its customers Hyundai Motor Co and Fiat Chrysler Automobiles. Fiat Chrysler also supplies vehicles with Waymo.
Aurora is estimated at $ 2.5 billion. Investors include Hyundai and Amazon Inc.
Argo, which is a majority owned vehicle no. 2 is part of Ford Autonomous Vehicles LLC. Ford set up the unit in 2018, pledging to invest $ 4 billion by 2023./Investing.com