The future of the automotive industries lies within the technology industry, and many automakers have been struggling to combine the two. Ford’s solution to this is to open a new innovation center in Palo Alto where the company will attempt to utilize the vast engineering capacity of Silicon Valley to develop the kind of technology that it simply can’t develop in Detroit.
In the latest sign that the distinctions between the auto and tech industries are becoming more blurry, Ford on Thursday celebrated the opening of a new research center in Palo Alto, Calif., in the heart of Silicon Valley. The company said the new center would help advance new car technologies like built-in Internet connections and eventually self-driving vehicles. It will be led by Dragos Maciuca, a former senior engineer at Apple who has also led research and development at Lockheed Martin. Mark Fields, who became Ford’s chief executive last July, said the new center was meant to make a statement. “We want to be viewed as part of the ecosystem of Silicon Valley,” he said.