Ford Motor Company has launched a new subsidiary, Latitude AI, to develop a hands-free, eyes-off-the-road automated driving system for millions of vehicles. The new company will add talent in machine learning, robotics, software, sensors, systems engineering, and operations to Ford’s development of automated driving technology.
According to Doug Field, Chief Advanced Product Development and Technology Officer at Ford, “We see automated driving technology as an opportunity to redefine the relationship between people and their vehicles.” He added that the new system will make travel safer, less stressful, and more enjoyable for drivers.
The new system is expected to automate driving during tedious or stressful conditions, such as bumper-to-bumper traffic or long stretches of highway. The goal is to provide customers with more of their day back by allowing them to focus on other tasks while the vehicle drives itself.
The average driver in the United States spends nearly 100 hours a year sitting in traffic, according to transportation analytics firm INRIX. Latitude’s mission is to create an automated driving system that will help reduce that number and make the driving experience more enjoyable.
The Latitude team will complement Ford’s existing team of experts in automated driving technology, including advancements in Ford BlueCruise, which has already accumulated more than 50 million miles of hands-free driving. The new team will bring experience and talent in automated driving, including software development tools and infrastructure, to work on advanced driver assist systems (ADAS).
The establishment of Latitude is part of Ford’s strategic shift to focus on automated driving technologies for personally owned vehicles. Last year, the company hired about 550 employees formerly of Argo AI, a self-driving technology company, to work on machine learning and robotics, cloud platforms, mapping, sensors and compute systems, test operations, systems and safety engineering.
Sammy Omari, Executive Director of ADAS Technologies at Ford, will serve as the CEO of Latitude. Peter Carr has been appointed as Chief Technology Officer, overseeing Latitude’s product and technical development. David Gollob is named as President, with responsibility for business operations.
“We believe automated driving technology will help improve safety while unlocking all-new customer experiences that reduce stress and in the future will help free up a driver’s time to focus on what they choose,” said Omari. “The expertise of the Latitude team will further complement and enhance Ford’s in-house global ADAS team in developing future driver assist technologies, ultimately delivering on the many benefits of automation.”
Latitude will be headquartered in Pittsburgh, with additional engineering hubs in Dearborn, Michigan, and Palo Alto, California. The company will also operate a highway-speed test track facility in Greenville, South Carolina.
The launch of Latitude is another step forward in Ford’s efforts to develop automated driving technology for personally owned vehicles. With the addition of talented experts in machine learning, robotics, software, sensors, systems engineering, and operations, the company is well-positioned to create an automated driving system that will revolutionize the driving experience for millions of people.