Ford acquires Quantum Signal AI to bolster modeling, simulation for autonomous vehicles, robotics

Ford said it will use Quantum Signal AI's simulation and algorithm development know-how for its autonomous vehicle ambitions.

Volkswagen and Ford join forces in $7b Argo AI alliance deal The two motoring giants will each separately invest in Argo AI to deliver autonomous vehicles in the US and Europe.

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Ford said it will acquire Quantum Signal AI, a company focused on mobile robotics, modeling and simulation. Ford said it will use Quantum Signal AI's simulation and algorithm development know-how for its autonomous vehicle ambitions.

Quantum Signal AI is a 20-year-old company based in Saline, MI. The company counts the Department of Defense as a big customer for its ANVEL modeling and simulation tools for mobile robotics and autonomous vehicles.

The acquisition of Quantum Signal AI also complements Ford's purchase of SAIPS, an Israel-based company focused on machine learning, three years ago, and the company's investment with Volkswagen to invest in Argo AI.

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Here's ANVEL's core pitch:

The Autonomous Navigation Virtual Environment Laboratory (ANVEL) is an interactive, real-time engineering modeling and simulation (M&S) software tool built specifically to assist in the research, design, testing, and evaluation of intelligent ground vehicles. It supports the development of autonomy, semi-autonomy, teleoperation, and Advanced Driver Assistance Systems (ADAS) functionalities. ANVEL allows users to quickly and easily construct virtual vehicle models; place virtual sensors onboard those models; connect sensing, perception, and control algorithms/code to the virtual system; and perform testing in an almost infinite variety of virtual environments with scalable fidelity. It provides scenario-focused scripting and the ability to explore performance "edge cases" that are key to ensuring system robustness no matter where the real-world application.

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A look at Quantum Signal's ANVEL simulation software. Credit: Quantum Signal

Aside from the intellectual property, Ford said Quantum Signal AI will also add talent and expertise for the company for new efforts ranging from transportation as a service to autonomous vehicles. As Ford competes with everyone from Tesla to Uber to Alphabet to traditional rivals, the company will need software and algorithm talent.

In addition, Ford noted that it will use ANVEL to bolster its vehicle testing and prototyping. 

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