Pittsburgh-based autonomous vehicle company Argo AI will invest $15 million to create a new research center at Carnegie Mellon University, officials announced Monday.
The Argo AI Center for Autonomous Vehicle Research will help produce the next generation of leaders in the self-driving industry, said Bryan Salesky, the company's CEO.
“Pittsburgh is one of the best development cities because obviously we have strange terrain. We have lots of roads that connect in different ways, and it’s all very helpful for our developmental work,” he said.
The funding will be disbursed over five years and support both faculty and graduate students. Salesky said he expects the center to expand the talent pool available to the company.
“This is a big day for Pittsburgh and for Carnegie Mellon University because our city and this university are at the heart and soul of an industry that is already changing the world,” he said, adding that long-term funding will allow the center to work on long-term problems.
Mayor Bill Peduto applauded the news. Growing up in the city, he said he saw it “knocked down to its knees” and wondered if it would ever thrive again. He said the partnership between CMU and Argo AI shows the Pittsburgh way of doing things: private companies partnering with institutions to solve problems.
“It takes a deep commitment in order to make that happen, but it also takes a heart,” he said.
Peduto said with Argo’s help, Pittsburgh is leading “the fourth industrial revolution.”
In 2017, Ford announced a $1 billion partnership with Argo AI, and Salesky said the motor company is excited to strengthen its ties with CMU.
Argo AI tests its self-driving cars in Pittsburgh and four other cities.