Ford’s new AI company wants to create hands-free, eyes-free driver assistance systems

Hate sitting in traffic? Ford knows you do — and the company is doubling down on developing automated driving technology to help make traffic more bearable. Today, Ford announced the creation of Latitude AI, a wholly owned subsidiary that aims to make driving less stressful, especially in “bumper-to-bumper traffic or on long stretches on the highway.”

The idea seems to be to create a more advanced version of Ford BlueCruise – but without sensors that warn drivers to pay attention if their eyes stray from the road. Ford’s announcement instead envisions the system giving drivers an “eyes-off-the-road” experience that will give them “a few days to come back.”

This isn’t the first time Ford has shifted part of its company to focus on automation. Back in 2018, it founded Ford Autonomous Vehicles LLC to focus on developing self-driving car technology. Later, that group was placed under the umbrella of Ford Next, a unit formed in 2021 to help Ford manage startups, new mobility services and manage the company’s stake in Argo AI. This new company appears to be a way to keep Argo AI’s work going after it shut down last year: Ford says 550 of Latitude AI’s new employees are former Argo AI workers.

Ford previously pledged to invest $29 billion in electric and autonomous vehicles by 2025. The formation of Latitude AI shows that the company is still serious about investing, despite the shutdown of Argo AI in 2022. “We believe that automated driving technology can help improve safety while opening up all-new customer experiences that reduce stress and in the future help free up the driver’s time to focus on what they choose,” said Latitude AI CEO Sammy Omari in a company statement.

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