Argo AI, a Ford-backed self-driving startup, is considering its initial public offering this year

Bryan salesky

Photographer: Justin Merriman / Bloomberg

Argo AI, the autonomous startup backed by Ford Motor Co. and Volkswagen AG is considering going public as early as this year, according to people familiar with its plans.

Bryan Salesky, a co-founder of Argo, told employees at a general meeting on April 1 that the company seeks to increase its funding as it moves closer to commercializing its autonomous driving technology, said the people, who asked not to be identified, revealing internal information discussions. Ford, what invested $ 1 billion in Argo in 2017, plans to Implement robo-taxis and driverless delivery capsules by 2022.

Argo had a market value of more than $ 7 billion when Volkswagen completed its $ 2.6 billion investment in the company last July. VW, the world’s best-selling automaker, plans to put autonomous vehicles on the road later this decade.

As technology approaches reality, major players such as Waymo from Alphabet Inc., General Motor Co. and Cruiser Backed by Aurora Innovation Inc. is expected to consider public offerings to meet growing financing needs. Start of Chinese autonomous trucks TuSimple Inc. only disclosed its intention to sell shares in an IPO. Driverless Truck Start Plus is in talks with special-purpose acquisition companies for a merger, a route several electric vehicle firms have used to go public.

For Argo, the time is right because it is in the advanced stages of development of its technology, with tests underway in six cities, including Miami, a new lidar guidance system and a clear path to commercialization through partnerships with two of the world’s largest automakers, the people said.


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