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Ford Buys Defense Contractor to Get Robot Rides on the Road

  • After two deal duds, carmaker is purchasing Quantum Signal AI
  • Small firm skilled in sniper simulation, robot remote-control

As Ford Motor Co. bears down on a self-imposed deadline to field robotaxis and driverless delivery vehicles in two years, the automaker has acquired a small defense contractor whose experience could help get auto-piloted cars on the road.

This month, Ford paid an undisclosed sum to acquire Quantum Signal AI, a 40-member team of roboticists operating out of a decommissioned 1930s-era high school in Saline, Michigan, just up the road from the University of Michigan. The 20-year-old firm has experience working with the U.S. military on sniper simulations and remote-controlled sentinel robots.