Argo AI Invests $15 Million in Carnegie Mellon University for New Research Center

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【Summary】The new five-year research partnership will help Carnegie Mellon University research next-gen decision-making algorithms for self-driving cars.

Original Vineeth Joel Patel    Aug 07, 2019 1:00 AM PT
Argo AI Invests $15 Million in Carnegie Mellon University for New Research Center

Argo AI has been busy of late. The artificial intelligence company based out of Pittsburgh recently expanded its reach to Detroit, undoubtedly, to be closer to its most noteworthy backer, Ford. And now, Argo AI are planning to invest $15 million in Carnegie Mellon University (CMU) to fund a new research center. 

What The Investment Is For

Dubbed, and this is a mouthful, the Carnegie Mellon University Argo Ai Center for Autonomous Vehicle Research, the five-year, $15 million research partnership will "fund research into advanced perception and next-generation decision-making algorithms for autonomous vehicles," claims the university in a press release. The main goal of the new research center is to help self-driving vehicles overcome current hurdles that stop them from operating on their own in the real world. CMU cites wintery conditions and construction zones as prime areas of focus. 

"This investment allows our researchers to continue to lead at the nexus of technology and society, and to solve society's most pressing problems," said CMU President Farnam Jahanian. "Together, Argo AI and CMU will accelerate critical research in autonomous vehicles while building on the momentum of CMU's culture of innovation." 

The latest announcement from Argo AI and CMU comes after an earlier partnership between the two. A few years ago, in 2017, the pair worked with Georgia Institute of Technology to "push the limits in computer vision and machine learning." So Argo AI and CMU are clearly comfortable working together. Beyond that, there's the matter of proximity, as Argo Ai's headquarters are far from CMU itself. 

What Kind Of Research Will Be Conducted

The new research center will be a part of CMU's Robotics Institute and provide individuals working on the project access to "fleet-scale data sets, vehicles and large-scale infrastructure that are crucial for advancing self-driving technologies and, that otherwise would be difficult to obtain." 

Argo AI put out a press release on the matter, and in the company's words, the center will be a unique location for both of the organizations. "What is unique about this center is that it will look at the task of autonomous vehicles from end-to-end, including perception, decision-making and actuation, yet push the envelope to advance beyond our first-generation system enabling us to serve more cities, operate more efficiently and interact safely in the most complex environments." 

Besides having its self-driving vehicles roaming around Detroit, Argo AI has test vehicles in Miami, Pittsburgh, Palo Alto, and Washington, D.C. There are currently 100 vehicles in Argo AI's fleet and those are currently being updated with new prototypes that have updated LiDAR units, cameras, and sensors. 

Recently, Argo AI announced plans to give researchers access to its curated data and high-definition maps for free. By offering researchers with a sample of the data it's collected at no cost, the company thinks researchers will be able to make systems that are more capable when it comes to tracking and identifying objects on the road. Predicting where and how objects move is another crucial aspect behind making its data available. 

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