Watch CBS News

Fitzgerald still optimistic about Pittsburgh's tech industry after Argo AI shuts down

Argo AI shutting down
Argo AI shutting down 02:35

PITTSBURGH (KDKA) - It's a difficult day for many in the tech industry as hundreds of employees at Argo AI in the Strip District found out they're losing their jobs. Two of the self-driving car company's biggest investors decided to pull out. 

"I'm still very optimistic about where Pittsburgh is going," said Allegheny County Executive Rich Fitzgerald. 

But that optimism will have to happen without the self-driving car technology of Argo AI. The company told about 2,000 employees that the company is folding. More than 800 are based in the Strip District location.

The company landed in Pittsburgh six years ago thanks to a multi-billion dollar investment from Ford and Volkswagen. But now they say they don't see a path to profitability on fully autonomous vehicles. 

"Both the big investors in Argo, whether it be Volkswagen and/or Ford probably got to the point where they want to see this out in the market, meaning revenues come in," said Fitzgerald. 

Instead, the carmakers will now focus their energy and money on partially automated driver-assist systems which need to be monitored by someone inside the vehicle. 

Argo AI CEO Bryan Salesky confirmed the shutdown and released a statement, saying in part: "The team consistently delivered above and beyond, and we expect to see success for everyone in whatever comes next, including opportunities presented by Ford and VW to continue their work on automated driving technology."

This move comes on the heels of a round of layoffs in July in which 150 people lost their jobs.

Although it's still unclear just how many of the company's 2,000 employees will lose their jobs, Fitzgerald, who has been a stark proponent since Argo's inception in 2016, believes many could find jobs in Pittsburgh in the tech industry. 

"The tech industry in Pittsburgh is going to continue to be strong," Fitzgerald said. "We have over a hundred companies in about a 10-block area between Strip District and Lawrenceville and I think they're going to continue to grow." 

Ford said it and Volkswagen would hire many of Argo's 2,000 employees and some of its offices would remain open.

View CBS News In
CBS News App Open
Chrome Safari Continue
Be the first to know
Get browser notifications for breaking news, live events, and exclusive reporting.