Why Ford is growing its Silicon Valley research center

In January, Ford began an ambitious expansion of its Research & Innovation Center in the heart of Silicon Valley, hoping to assemble a team of about 125 engineers this year.

James A. BuczkowskiThe goals for the Palo Alto lab, which opened as a small outpost in 2012? To better understand how we drive, how we interact with the existing electronics inside the vehicles and the ones we bring onboard, and how we communicate. Self-driving vehicles are also part of the picture.

“Palo Alto is important to us because it’s our way of connecting into a very vibrant network of innovation that occurs in the culture of Silicon Valley,” says Jim Buczkowski, Director of Electrical and Electronics Systems at Ford’s Research and Advanced Engineering division. That includes relationships with both tech companies and academic institutions. “Being there is a necessary component of being able to pick up what’s going on,” he says.

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