Ford Opens Connectivity R&D Center
Ford has hired over 400 connectivity, telematics and infotainment engineers in Canada and the U.S. with the explicit goal of increasing its expertise in all forms of connected-car technology. As part of this new initiative, which is set to more than double the automaker’s current staffing level in this burgeoning arena, Ford also will open a new Research and Engineering Center in Ottawa, Canada.
Make smart cars work like smart phones
Ford’s first Canadian-based R&D hub will be home to roughly 300 of the new hires and focus on advances in infotainment, integrated modems and gateway modules plus various driver-assist features as well as furthering development of systems used in autonomous vehicles. It will be supported by satellite operations in Waterloo and Oakville, Ontario, along with U.S. facilities in Cary, North Carolina and Sunrise, Florida, and ultimately serve the automaker’s connectivity needs on a global basis. Most of the new personnel were culled from the ranks of BlackBerry/QNX’s mobile communications group, a move Ford believes will help ensure the operating systems used in its future smart vehicles will function as seamlessly as those in today’s smart phones.
“Connectivity is the critical component to the future of mobility,” said Raj Nair, Ford executive vice president, global product development and chief technical officer. “Whether it’s providing information to help reduce congestion in cities, allowing vehicles and infrastructure to communicate to keep us safer on the road or simply knowing all your personal settings when you enter a self-driving vehicle, connectivity is the key. By more than doubling our connectivity talent and establishing a research center, we can innovate faster and deliver more software and services to exceed our customer’s expectations.”
In commenting on the news, KBB Executive Publisher Karl Brauer, noted: It’s a smart move because this fast-tracks Ford’s effort to be an expert in the field of high-tech mobility. That’s a race every automaker is fighting to win right now.”
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