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  (Source: blogcdn.com)
The lab is expected to help the automaker develop new partnerships with tech firms and universities

Ford announced a new research lab today that will represent the automaker's first step into Silicon Valley.

Ford is planning to build and open the Silicon Valley research lab early this year. The idea behind the new structure is to create new partnerships with a variety of technology firms as well as surrounding universities like Stanford in an effort to develop affordable and innovative technology for personal mobility.

The new lab will be placed in the San Francisco Bay area in California. Ford made it clear that this new lab will not replace or duplicate work from the automaker's Research and Innovation Center in Dearborn, Michigan, its technology office in Nanjing, China or its European facility in Aachen, Germany. Rather, the Silicon Valley version will focus on independent technology projects and the development of partnerships with surrounding companies like Microsoft in Redmond, Washington.

"Ford has an incredible heritage of driving innovation in the transportation and manufacturing sectors during the past 107 years," said Paul Mascarenas, Ford chief technical officer and vice president of Research and Innovation. "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.

"An open attitude to new ideas is critical to solving the transportation, environmental and societal challenges we expect in the future. With increasing pressures from urbanization and the need to reduce energy use, we’re going to see energy storage, wireless connectivity, sensing systems and even autonomous vehicles as key parts of the solution.”

Ford mentioned that the number of employees at the new lab will be "comparable to what you expect of a startup," meaning probably not many for now.

Ford has outlined a few areas it hopes to focus on and accomplish in particular via the Silicon Valley lab, including personal mobility, the use of sensors to improve a range of driving functions such as intelligent windshield wipers, and open-source hardware and software developer kits to supply developers with important vehicle data for the creation of new services and cloud-based apps. In fact, Ford is launching research platform OpenXC for developers along with New York-based Bug Labs.

More ideas for the new lab will be described by Ford President and CEO Alan Mulally when he attends the Consumer Electronics Show (CES) in Las Vegas January 11.

Source: Ford



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RE: Auto pilot?
By kleinma on 1/6/2012 1:08:17 PM , Rating: 2
auto pilot from anyone is a long way off. If just for fear of how lawsuits will go down once someone crashes while on auto pilot.


RE: Auto pilot?
By danjw1 on 1/6/2012 2:57:09 PM , Rating: 3
I saw an article the other day that Nevada was considering allowing automated cars to drive on their roads. So it may not be all that far off. This would start as a pilot program, I believe.


RE: Auto pilot?
By sigmatau on 1/6/2012 10:29:43 PM , Rating: 2
Microsoft? Get the wrong news much?

Ford took over the SYNC development a couple of years ago buddy. The previous generation SYNC (MS) worked way better than the current one (Ford). Try again.


RE: Auto pilot?
By sigmatau on 1/6/2012 10:30:59 PM , Rating: 2
was replying to dijuremo......


RE: Auto pilot?
By Samus on 1/7/2012 1:35:02 AM , Rating: 1
Whether you guys like it or not, cars will be self-driving in our lifetime. Sure, the purists out there will get their panties in a bunch but the reality is 1 in 500 driving decisions made by a vehicle operator is a mistake. I'm sure a networked computer traffic control system will at least match that in the next 20 years.


RE: Auto pilot?
By donxvi on 1/7/2012 8:02:33 AM , Rating: 2
Not accurate. Still a partnership.
See linked article photo of maintenance screen.
http://www.autoblog.com/2011/03/30/fords-second-ge...

I speak only for myself, not my employer.


RE: Auto pilot?
By sigmatau on 1/7/2012 3:28:16 PM , Rating: 1
Who is your employer? Taco Bell? ROFL!

Microsoft provides a platform, it can't help if 3rd parties come in and mess it up. Nice try though! Same with Windows, you can cry all you want about past crashes and blame Microsoft all you want and then go buy a horrible Apple pos and claim you are superior while the whole time it was your stupid sound card company that couldn't get their act together.


RE: Auto pilot?
By Shig on 1/7/2012 4:42:15 PM , Rating: 2
Google already has a self driving car program that has been very successful, Volkswagen also has a program. On June 16th, Nevada passed a bill that sets the framework for these vehicles. In 2012 the Nevada DMV will start making rules and regulations for 'autonomous vehicles' and the associated insurance framework needed. It is going to take some time for the public to accept them and there will surely be bumps along the way.

The military also has interest in these technologies for general and day to day base operations.


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