Ford believes that the future of automotive technology is in very good hands, thanks to state-of-the-art development facilities like its new lab in Palo Alto, Calif. The automaker’s innovation spearhead sits within the very heart of the electronics industry’s Silicon Valley, and Ford is confident that the facility will cut straight as an arrow into the future of personal mobility.
Ford wants to lead the creative charge
Ford Executive Chairman Bill Ford has attempted to steer the automaker into partnerships with electronics and telecommunications companies for some time, notes the Detroit Free Press. If new automotive technology born of such partnerships can solve problems of roadway safety and gridlock, Ford wants to lead the charge.
“We have been innovating for more than a century at Ford, but we acknowledge we don’t have a monopoly on creativity,” Ford said via a written statement. “Our new office will complement our existing research efforts by allowing us to tap into the region that has been driving consumer technology forward in recent decades.”
Currently, Ford has automotive technology research centers in Dearborn, Mich.; Aachen, Germany; Nanjing, China; and Tel Aviv, Israel.
Safer and more intuitive
Telematics and infotainment systems that solve problems rather than creative them for drivers and pedestrians are what Ford wants, and its Palo Alto technology lab is primed to deliver. The automaker’s “Big Data” plan will reportedly involve sensor technology that is easily personalized and thoroughly convenient. Data collected could conceivably reduce traffic congestion, improve driving efficiency and, by extension, save lives and money.
“We want Silicon Valley to view Ford as a platform that is open, accessible and ready for their innovative ideas and technologies,” said Paul Mascarenas, Ford’s chief technical officer. “We are looking for unexpected solutions for the future, and we believe Silicon Valley is the right place to round out our global research organization. We view technology as more than just an impressive list of microprocessors, sensors and software. It is the enabler of a safe, intuitive and enjoyable time behind the wheel.”
Going beyond Sync
In-car connectivity and infotainment systems like Ford’s Sync have proven popular, but automotive safety advocates have criticized the degree to which such systems contribute to distracted driving. With new research and development, Ford is focused on new, open-source hardware systems that will prove even safer that what’s currently on the market.
“As new ways of processing, curating and filtering information are conceived, the possibilities for enhancing personal mobility are virtually limitless,” said Ford’s Silicon Valley lab manager, Venkatesh Prasad. “With many of the finest forward-thinking minds in the world located in the San Francisco Bay region, the Ford Silicon Valley Lab is ideally positioned to interact with and forge connections to local innovators and grow the relationships with our current partners.”
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