"Ford has an incredible heritage of driving innovation in the transportation and manufacturing sectors during the past 107 years. Now it's time to prepare for the next 100 years, ushering in a new era of collaboration and finding new partners to help us transform what it means to be an automaker."
- Paul Mascarenas (Ford chief technical officer and vice president of Research and Innovation.)
Within the next few months, Ford Motor Company will build research labs in Silicon Valley (San Francisco Bay area) for the sole purpose of making the future affordable for everyone. Building off of past popular innovations like Ford SYNC, EcoBoost, MyKey, and inflatable rear safety belts, the company is dedicated to bringing their next-gen tech that is keeping up with trends.
The new research labs will be strategically placed to create a "innovation network" between Ford and Microsoft, among the other possibilities. (Wink from Ford to everyone in the area.) Ford Seniro Technical Leader for Open Innovation K. Venkatesh Prasad elaborated, Silicon Valley represents a deep and dynamic technology neighborhood and is far from Dearborn. With so many opportunities and so much potential, our new lab will allow us to scout new technologies and partners in their own environment and continue our expansion beyond the traditional automaker mindset to drive innovation for a better mobility experience."
Oddly, Ford stated that the staffing size for the new labs will be "what you expect of a startup." Hopefully, like other startups in the Valley, Ford's will not disappear one evening. Research at other Ford facilities, world-wide, will still continue. Where the new location will handle all the latest, focusing on "quality over quantity."
Ford stated that the following is the initial areas of interest for the new group:
• Personal mobility: Mindful of consumer trends and the growth of megacities, Ford is researching new business models that will help avoid the creation of global gridlock through a holistic approach to personal transportation • Open-source hardware and software developer kits: Working with New York City-based startup Bug Labs, Ford is launching OpenXC, a research platform that will allow developers to access key vehicle data in order to innovate cloud-based apps and services. The first OpenXC beta developer kits will be shipped this month to several participating universities including MIT, University of Michigan and Stanford • The car as a sensor: Researching ways to utilize the multitude of sensors within the vehicle to improve the road for all drivers, Ford is opening the data channels to developers. For example, San Francisco-based Weather Underground is looking at ways to leverage vehicle windshield wiper activations to improve its weather proximity reporting
I hope the endeavor turns out to be productive. I like when past industry leaders come back after falling from grace (IE: Microsoft and Apple come to mind). My recommendation Ford, make a 'better Prius."