Pittsburgh Tech Start-Up Gets $2.6B Deal


DRIVERS PAYING CASH AND A LITTLE OVER $44 FOR DRIVERS WITH AN EZ PASS. PITTSBURGH’S REPUTATION AS THE CENTER OF SELF-DRIVING VEHICLE TECHNOLOGY RECENTLY GOT A BIG INTERNATIONAL BOOST. VOLKSWAGEN MADE A MULTI BILLION DOLLAR DEAL TO JOIN FORD AS OWNERS OF ARGO AI. MONEY EDITOR JON DELANO SAT DOWN WITH THE CEO OF ARGO AI TO TALK ABOUT WHAT THIS DEAL MEANS FOR PITTSBURGH. Reporter: IT’S NOT OFTEN A PITTSBURGH STARTUP GETS $2.6 BILLION, BUT THAT’S WHAT JUST HAPPENED TO ARGO AI WITH IMPLICATIONS FOR THE CITY’S HI- TECH REPUTATION. FOR PITTSBURGH IT MEANS WE’RE GOING TO CONTINUE TO OPERATE HERE. WE’RE GOING TO ADD JOBS AND HIRING LOTS OF GREAT ENGINEERS AND REALLY PEOPLE FROM ALL DIFFERENT DISCIPLINES TO JOIN ARGO TO CONTINUE TO BUILD SELF- DRIVING CARS. Reporter: THAT’S THE DREAM OF BRIAN SALESKY, CO-FOUNDER AND CEO OF ARGO AI, TO DESIGN THE SDS OR SELF-DRIVING SYSTEM THAT BECOMES THE BEST TECHNOLOGY FOR ALL SELF-DRIVING AUTO MANUFACTURERS IN THE WORLD. THE 2.6 BILLION FROM VOLKSWAGEN FOLLOWS AN EARLIER INVESTMENT OF 1 BILLION FROM FORD. FORD WAS AN EARLY INVESTOR AND GREAT PARTNER TO US AND REALLY VOLKSWAGEN NOW BECOMES OUR SECOND CUSTOMER, A SECOND INVESTOR, AND THE TWO COMBINED MEANS THAT WE NOW HAVE TWO OF THE LARGEST GLOBAL AUTOMAKERS ALIGNED AROUND THE ARGO SELF- DRIVING PLATFORM. Reporter: BASED IN THE STRIP DISTRICT, THE 2-YEAR-OLD ARGO AI ALREADY EMPLOYS 250 PEOPLE. WE’RE BUILDING THE COMPUTERS, SENSORS AND SOFTWARE THAT IS ABLE TO DRIVE A CAR WITHOUT ANY HUMAN INTERVENTION. Reporter: BUT AS IT RAMPS FOR NEW JOBS TO BE POSTED. I COULD SEE US OVER THE NEXT FEW YEARS GETTING TO AROUND 500 PEOPLE IN PITTSBURGH. Reporter: OF COURSE, MANY ARE STILL SKEPTICAL OF SELF- DRIVING VEHICLES. HOW DO YOU REASSURE PEOPLE THAT THIS IS REALLY A SAFE TECHNOLOGY FOR THE FUTURE? YEAH. IT’S A GOOD QUESTION AND I’M GLAD YOU ASKED IT. SO WE’RE STILL VERY MUCH SQUARELY IN WHAT WE CALL THE DEVELOPMENT STAGE WHICH MEANS ANY ARGO VEHICLE OUT THERE TODAY HAS TWO DRIVERS IN THE VEHICLE AT ALL TIMES. Reporter: IN FACT, IT’S LIKELY TO BE SEVERAL YEARS BEFORE FULLY AUTONOMOUS VEHICLES ARE OUT ON THE ROADS. WHAT EXCITES YOU THE MOST ABOUT THIS DEAL? BUILDING OUR PLATFORM, BUT EVEN JUST BEYOND THAT IT REALLY TURNS US INTO A GLOBAL COMPANY.

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