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This Driverless Startup Has One Mission: Save the Future of Ford

Argo AI’s Bryan Salesky, with a billion-dollar investment from a Detroit icon, might be looking for another automaker to buy in.

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One of Argo AI’s autonomous Ford Fusions in Pittsburgh. Ford bought a majority stake last year.

One of Argo AI’s autonomous Ford Fusions in Pittsburgh. Ford bought a majority stake last year.

Photographer: Justin Merriman/Bloomberg

Bryan Salesky has been entrusted with $1 billion by Ford Motor Co. and given a mission to bring the pioneering American automaker into the age of driving robots. All that money to figure out tomorrow from a company feeling more than a little insecure about its present comes with an unavoidable psychic weight. It becomes top of mind when Salesky looks down at the floor.

“It’s not like I lined the place with marble,” Salesky says as he walks through Argo AI’s Ford-funded offices, spread across two floors of a new building in a hip section of Pittsburgh. “I don’t want everybody to think that we’re so well-funded that we can pour money on things ridiculously. So we’ve got polished concrete floors instead of beautiful tile like a law firm. This is not a law firm.”