By Megan Stearman, Director of Marketing & Innovation, Oxford Development Company
Pittsburgh is a city built by industrious entrepreneurs whose technology changed industry and led it to become a global leader in steel production.
We find ourselves at a moment in time in which industry is changing again through technology. So why shouldn’t it happen in Pittsburgh?
Artificial intelligence to automate vehicles? Yes please! We are so excited to have Argo AI expand this growing industry in our city, and even more excited to be able to build their new headquarters.
We sat down with Argo AI’s CEO Bryan Salesky to learn more and understand why this rapidly growing firm decided to remain in Pittsburgh and in the Strip District specifically.
Oxford Development Company: So what does Argo AI do?
Bryan Salesky : Argo AI was established to tackle one of the most challenging applications in computer science, robotics and artificial intelligence: self-driving vehicles. While technology exists today to augment the human driver and automate the driving task up to a certain level of capability, replacing the human driver remains an extremely complex challenge. Advances in artificial intelligence, machine learning and computer vision are required to solve it. These technologies will eventually lead us to a new generation of the automobile – a vehicle that is connected, intelligent, and able to safely operate itself alone or as part of a shared fleet. The potential of these shared fleets of self-driving vehicles will be one of the most transformative advancements in this century.
ODC: In order to do this, you have a relationship with Ford Motor Company. Can you tell us about it?
BS: We partnered with Ford Motor Company to combine Argo AI’s self-driving system – which is comprised of sensors, computers and software – with Ford’s autonomous vehicle platforms. Together, we are working to commercialize fleets of self-driving cars equipped with Argo AI technology, that can move people and goods from A to B without the involvement of a human driver. Our agility combined with Ford’s scale uniquely unites the benefits of a technology startup with the experience and discipline of an automaker’s industry-leading autonomous vehicle development program.
We’re working with Ford because of their enduring commitment to mobility dating back more than 100 years. Ford Motor Company has built its business around human-driven vehicles, but its visionaries see the societal benefits that self-driving vehicles enable for the future. We respect Ford’s extensive autonomous vehicle research and development efforts and are thrilled to be partnering with them.
ODC: Why Pittsburgh?
BS: Pittsburgh has always been an epicenter for innovation, with an incredible workforce possessing the talent, grit and determination to take an idea and turn it into reality. The people here have an unsurpassed capacity to get things done. We’re not just designing and developing the future, we are going to build it together.
But what has really put us in this position is the leadership from the mayor and the city, and the universities and the businesses who have worked so hard to stay in Pittsburgh and make this place amazing.
The commitment from the universities to continue to innovate and keep talent in this area is paramount. Western Pennsylvania recruits talent from all over the world, as the education community here provides a haven for entrepreneurs to test out new ideas in the hope one might someday change the world. Pittsburgh is the place to grow ideas into products.
I came to Pittsburgh 20 years ago to attend the University of Pittsburgh and fell in love with this place. So when we founded Argo AI, we knew our headquarters would be based here, and we’re embracing this new generation of engineers and scientists who are both discovering the city’s energy and fueling it. Retaining this pool of top-notch talent is vitally important as we collaborate with world-class universities to ensure our great ideas and innovations will support our mission to provide safer, more accessible, and affordable transportation for all.
ODC: Why the Strip District?
BS: The Strip District is a neighborhood that is representative of Pittsburgh’s industriousness. It’s a place where the past mixes with the future in a really special way. There’s a great energy here with so many global technology companies. Plus its central location is important to our employees and recruitment. The amenities that the Strip offers are unmatched in the city.
ODC: What was it about 3 Crossings that made it your final selection?
BS: 3 Crossings provided us with riverfront office space in a vibrant urban area with a mix of office and neighborhood. A new build allowed us the opportunity to create a space uniquely our own. We can’t believe how this place has transformed and we are really excited to be a part it.
3 Crossings, a project of Oxford Development Company, reconnects the Strip District to the natural amenities of a revitalized riverfront and to the future riverfront trail network. For more information visit 3Crossingspgh.com.