PITTSBURGH (KDKA) – Driverless vehicles used to be strictly science fiction, but Uber’s partnership with Pittsburgh to develop these cars has made the technology seem very real indeed.

Now Ford Motor Company is investing $1 billion over the next five years in Pittsburgh-based Argo AI to work with ford engineers in developing driverless vehicles for the public.

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Said Ford CEO Mark Fields: “As Ford expands to be an auto and a mobility company, we believe that investing in Argo AI will create significant value for our shareholders by strengthening Ford’s leadership in bringing self-driving vehicles to market in the near term and by creating technology that could be licensed to others in the future.”

Argo AI was founded by two Carnegie Mellon alumni, Bryan Salesky and Peter Rander, pictured here with Fields and Ford executive vice president Raj Nair.

Salesky and Rander come out of CMU’s Robotics Engineering Center and were leaders of self-driving car teams for Google and Uber.

Argo AI expects to have at least 200 team members working on this project located in the Pittsburgh, Detroit, and San Francisco area.

Mayor Peduto says this is just the start.

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“What we hope to see are thousands, tens of thousands of manufacturing jobs coming back to Western Pennsylvania for the 21st century.”

In a statement, Argo AI CEO Salesky said, “We believe this partnership will enable self-driving cars to be commercialized and deployed at a scale to extend affordable mobility to all.”

Ford’s decision to invest in Argo AI comes in the wake of continued good news for Pittsburgh in this arena.

Last month, the Defense Department said it would invest $250 million in CMU’s Advanced Robotics Manufacturing Institute.

And the U.S. Department of Transportation has designated Pittsburgh one of ten testing grounds for autonomous vehicles.

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