Quantum Signal, a small robotics company based in Michigan has been acquired by Ford, for its simulation and algorithm development know-how, to help with developing autonomous vehicles. Quantum has produced remote control software for robotic vehicles for clients such as the U.S. Military.

Ford sees those skills as a perfect fit for the unpredictable and often chaotic world its autonomous vehicles will need to navigate with its promised self-driving business in multiple U.S. cities.

According to Randy Visintainer “When we first set that target, we knew this was a very, very hard problem and we weren’t going to be able to do it alone.”

It’s hoping Quantum Signal will help it avoid potholes that have delayed a robotaxi service by General Motors Co.’s Cruise unit and limited the range of Alphabet Inc. affiliate Waymo’s autonomous ride-hailing operations.

Quantum’s simulation and robotics experts will join forces with Argo AI, Ford’s self-driving partner, and Ford’s own researchers, Randy Visintainer said.

Ford turbocharged its autonomous ambitions earlier this month by forming a new alliance with Volkswagen AG, the world’s largest automaker, to develop self-driving cars.

The move has vaulted Ford and VW into the pantheon of self-driving leaders along with Waymo and GM Cruise.

Yet, Ford’s track record with tech acquisitions is mixed.

Last week, Ford wrote down nearly the entire $182 million investment it made in Pivotal Software, a cloud computing startup, and earlier this year it shut down Chariot, a ride-hailing shuttle service it acquired in 2016 for $65 million.

Randy Visintainer insists this acquisition will be different because Quantum has a clear mission to create simulations and robotic controls that will guide Ford’s robotaxis and self-driving delivery vehicles.

Quantum also is well known for its ANVEL simulation software, which was used by the military’s robotics programs to explore the performance of autonomous systems.

Tools like that and Quantum’s sniper target simulation can be used to create richly detailed virtual environments to show how robot rides will share the road with unpredictable human drivers, Randy Visintainer said.

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