BERLIN, July 12 (Xinhua) -- Volkswagen and Ford would collaborate to push the development of autonomous driving systems and electric driving, Volkswagen CEO Herbert Diess and Ford CEO Jim Hackett announced on Friday.
In the scope of the cooperation, Volkswagen will invest 1 billion U.S. dollars in funding into Argo AI, Ford's autonomous driving subsidiary, as well as contributing its Autonomous Intelligent Driving division (AID) valued at 1.6 billion U.S. dollars.
"While Ford and Volkswagen remain independent and fiercely competitive in the marketplace, teaming up and working with Argo AI on this important technology allows us to deliver unmatched capability, scale and geographic reach," said Ford CEO Hackett.
Autonomous driving would be a "very expensive technology for the future", Ferdinand Dudenhoeffer, director of the German CAR institute, told Xinhua on Friday. "It therefore makes a lot of sense for carmakers to pool their developments in these areas."
Volkswagen and Ford are planning to implement the Self-Driving-System (SDS) which Argo AI would develop independently in their cars.
The autonomous driving system would allow the development of fully automated cars according to SAE level 4 which would be applied for "ride-sharing and goods delivery services" in urban areas, according to the two companies.
Volkswagen and Ford also announced to team up in electric mobility as Ford will be the first "additional automaker" to use Volkswagen's modular electric drive platform (MEB).
"Scaling our MEB drives down development costs for zero-emissions vehicles, allowing for a broader and faster global adoption of electric vehicles," said Volkswagen CEO Diess.
Ford is aiming to build at least "one high volume fully electric vehicle in Europe" starting in 2023, according to the two companies. The U.S. carmaker is expecting to deliver more than 600,000 vehicles in Europe within six years using Volkswagen's MEB platform.