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Ford announces new Silicon Valley research laboratory

Fri, 06 Jan 2012 00:00:00 -0800

Ford has announced plans to open a new R&D center in California's Silicon Valley with a view to creating a hub for collaborative technology projects. With neighbors including Google, Microsoft, facebook, Apple and Stanford University, it's certainly setting up shop in the right part of town. Its location also connects Ford's Advanced Design Studio in Irvine, CA and Ford employees working with connectivity platform partner Microsoft Corp. in Redmond, WA.

The research laboratory's main aim will be to drive innovation in personal mobility through the latest technologies: "Silicon Valley represents a deep and dynamic technology neighborhood and is far from Dearborn," said K. Venkatesh Prasad, senior technical leader for open innovation with Ford Research and Innovation. "With so many opportunities and so much potential, our new lab will allow us to scout new technologies and partners in their own environment."

Ford is already working on a number of tech-based research projects which will be supported by the new lab: the development of open-source hardware and software developer kits to allow third parties to produce cloud-based apps and services; using cars' existing sensors to feed data channels, such as working with the San Francisco-based Weather Underground to leverage vehicle windshield wiper activations to improve its weather proximity reporting; and the research of new, holistic personal mobility solutions.

This new facility adds to the company's other facilities including the Research and Innovation Center in Dearborn, its European facility in Aachen, Germany and the recently established technology office in Nanjing, China.

Ford President and CEO Alan Mulally will reveal more details about the forthcoming Silicon Valley lab in his presentation at the CES (Consumer Electronics Show) in Las Vegas next week. CDN will be there to give you the full story.

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By Owen Ready