The team formerly behind the self-driving startup Argo AI has returned with a new venture called Stack AV, focusing on autonomous trucking. This announcement comes 11 months after Ford and Volkswagen withdrew their support for Argo AI, sending shockwaves through the autonomous vehicle industry.
Stack AV, led by Founder and CEO Bryan Salesky, President Pete Rander, and Chief Technology Officer Brett Browning, is committed to harnessing the potential of self-driving trucks for commercial success. The company, which is also headquartered in Pittsburgh, has quickly grown to employ 150 professionals across multiple states.
Notably, Stack AV has secured substantial funding from SoftBank, the Japanese conglomerate. While exact investment figures have not been disclosed, sources suggest it could be as high as $1 billion. SoftBank is providing not only capital but also resources and AI expertise to accelerate Stack AV's growth and technological advancements.
Salesky explained the company's mission, stating, “As consumer consumption patterns evolve, businesses increasingly need AI-driven, intelligent, and reliable supply chains. With our proprietary technology and expertise, along with the support of our long-term partner SoftBank, we aim to transform the trucking and freight industries by enhancing efficiency and safety, easing supply chain bottlenecks for our customers, and helping them achieve their objectives.”
Stack AV's immediate focus is on expanding its workforce, with numerous job openings already posted on its website. The company has also commenced testing, though its autonomous trucks currently have human operators at the wheel.
The shift of the former Argo AI team toward trucking reflects a broader trend in the autonomous driving technology sector, where self-driving heavy goods vehicles are considered more feasible than autonomous passenger cars. Both Ford and Volkswagen cited the considerable expenses of their autonomous programs when ending their involvement with Argo AI, opting instead to concentrate on their less advanced driver assistance technologies. Autonomous trucking, while not without challenges, is generally seen as having more immediate commercial potential than self-driving passenger vehicles.
Kentaro Matsui, Head of New Business at SoftBank Group, emphasized the significance of AI in the coming decade, saying, “The next decade will be defined by AI, where all social systems will be linked by this technology to address complex societal issues. By applying AI-powered technology to the trucking industry, Stack AV is poised to revolutionize the transportation of goods and supply chains worldwide.”