DEARBORN, MI: Ford Research and Innovation, the carmaker's advanced engineering arm, has said it will open a Silicon Valley research lab in the first quarter of this year.
The lab will launch at “startup size” with about 15 employees, said Alan Hall, technology communications manager at Ford. The company is planning to develop relationships and partnerships with area tech firms, startups, and universities to drive innovation in transportation and mobility solutions.
“This is really an initiative focused on finding new opportunities and driving innovation, new thinking, and immersing ourselves in the amazing place that Silicon Valley is,” Hall said.
The research lab will have a broad focus, and it will be designed to help Ford better prepare for future transportation and societal changes. It will likely include research on cloud computing, seamless connectivity, and clean technology, said Hall.
“We're open to everything,” he said. “We're really looking at the future of personal mobility and the challenges that are going to be faced down the road.”
Ford will work to involve itself in the local community and look to hire local talent, rather than focusing on promotions for the lab, said Hall.
“The car now has this availability to be connected, add new services, and add new apps,” Hall said. “We think the timing is right to be able to bring that into Silicon Valley to really innovate future solutions.”