Autonomous tech / Funding / Startups / Venture capital

Argo AI’s founders publicly launched their new autonomous trucking company, Stack AV, with backing from SoftBank

Helmed by Bryan Salesky as CEO, Peter Rander as president and Brett Browning as CTO, the new company already counts 150 employees across 15 states and at its Pittsburgh HQ.

A Stack AV truck. (Courtesy/ Stack AV)

There’s a new autonomous vehicle company in town, born from the demise of another.

Nearly a year ago in October 2022, Argo AI shocked the Pittsburgh region with the news that it’d be shutting down. The Strip District-based AV company was thought to have a promising future, thanks in part to the $1 billion in support from Ford and another $2.6 billion raised later. Yet amid delayed plans to go public after a fateful third-quarter earnings meeting, it was decided that the company would be absorbed by Ford and VW, two of its biggest investors.

Now, after months of speculation and one leased building, Argo AI’s founders have finally revealed their newest endeavor: Stack AV, an AI-powered autonomous trucking company.

According to a Thursday morning announcement, the new company helmed by Bryan Salesky as CEO, Peter Rander as president and Brett Browning as CTO is developing technology to maximize trucks’ operating time, improve both existing infrastructure and roadway safety, and minimize emissions.

Salesky, who previously acted as Argo AI’s CEO, said Stack AV will be customer-focused, and that as consumer patterns evolve, supply chains that are AI-driven and intelligent will become more of a necessity. With that in mind, the company’s leaders believe that with its technology it can change the trucking industry for the better.

Where Argo AI was notably backed by Ford, Stack AV’s support comes from SoftBank Group Corp., the Japanese conglomerate that has backed the likes of WeWork and Gopuff with billions in venture capital. SoftBank will be contributing an unspecified amount of funding, resources and AI expertise to speed Stack AV’s growth and technology development.

“With our proprietary technology and expertise as well as the commitment from our long-term partner in SoftBank, we are confident we will revolutionize the trucking and freight industries by driving improvements in efficiency and safety and alleviating supply chain constraints for our customers, helping them reach their goals and advance their missions,” Salesky said in the announcement.

(Photo courtesy of Stack AV)

Stack AV will also be receiving moral support from Allegheny Conference on Community Development, the prominent Pittsburgh economic development group. When Argo AI closed, around the same time as several other promising local tech companies, regional leaders expressed concern about the potential loss of talent in Pittsburgh. Now, with Stack AV’s introduction and the investment from SoftBank, Allegheny Conference CEO Stefani Pashman said the new company will be an asset to the region and help Pittsburgh shore up its status as an AV technology hub — something exemplified by the $62.7 million Build Back Better Regional Challenge grant the region received from the federal government in September 2022 to advance local robotics projects.

“We welcome SoftBank to the Pittsburgh region as well,” Pashman said in a written statement. “Its investment is a smart bet on our region’s ability to deliver results, a reality already recognized by the Biden administration.”

The company already counts 150 employees across 15 states and at its Pittsburgh headquarters. It’s also hiring for a whole bunch of software engineering and other technical roles.

Atiya Irvin-Mitchell is a 2022-2024 corps member for Report for America, an initiative of The Groundtruth Project that pairs young journalists with local newsrooms. This position is supported by the Heinz Endowments.
Companies: Stack AV / Argo AI

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