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Ford today opens the Research and Innovation Center Palo Alto, growing its global research team and accelerating the company’s innovation in connectivity, mobility, autonomous vehicles, customer experience and big data.
“At Ford, we view ourselves as both a mobility and an auto company, as we drive innovation in every part of our business,” said Mark Fields, Ford Motor Company president and CEO. “This new research center shows Ford’s commitment to be part of the Silicon Valley innovation ecosystem – anticipating customers’ wants and needs, especially on connectivity, mobility and autonomous vehicles. We are working to make these new technologies accessible to everyone, not just luxury customers.”
The all-new Research and Innovation Center Palo Alto joins Ford’s global network of research and innovation centers, including its location in Dearborn, Michigan, which focuses on advanced electronics, human-machine interface, materials science, big data and analytics; and Aachen, Germany, which focuses on next-generation powertrain research, driver-assist technologies and active safety systems.
With the new facility, Ford expects to have one of the largest automotive manufacturer research centers in Silicon Valley by the end of the year, with 125 researchers, engineers and scientists. Located in Stanford Research Park, the facility also expands Ford’s physical footprint – with further expansion planned in the near future. Ford opened its first Silicon Valley office in 2012.
Leading the new research center is Dragos Maciuca, an engineer who joins Ford from Apple with a background in consumer electronics, semiconductor manufacturing, aerospace and automotive. As senior technical leader for innovation, Maciuca brings extensive Silicon Valley experience advising startups, developing and commercializing products, collaborating with universities and leading cross-functional teams. Maciuca holds a Ph.D. in Mechanical Engineering from University of California, Berkeley and an MBA from its Haas School of Business.
Experiments in motion
Earlier this month, the company introduced Ford Smart Mobility at the 2015 International CES. It outlines Ford’s plans to accelerate innovation in connectivity, mobility, autonomous vehicles, customer experience and big data. The Palo Alto team plays a critical role in research and development in these areas.
“Future mobility solutions will require fresh ideas and vigorous collaboration between researchers inside Ford and with other technology leaders outside the automotive industry,” said Raj Nair, Ford group vice president, Global Product Development and chief technical officer. “Our Palo Alto research team will build on existing relationships with universities and technology companies, and forge new ones to help us create and apply the appropriate technology working together.”
At today’s opening event, Ford offered a sneak peek at some of its projects in key areas, including:
“Growing the Palo Alto team will strengthen our global research prowess and drive innovation needed to meet the needs of our customers in the future,” said Ken Washington, vice president, Ford Research and Advanced Engineering. “Working together with the Silicon Valley research community will spark the new ideas, products and services that will help Ford once again change the way the world moves.”
The new Research and Innovation Center Palo Alto hopes to further existing relationships between Ford and San Francisco Bay Area technology companies and universities, as well as grow new connections, scout new technologies and collaborate on solutions for future mobility challenges.
About Ford Motor Company
Ford Motor Company (NYSE: F) is a global company based in Dearborn, Michigan, committed to helping build a better world, where every person is free to move and pursue their dreams. The company’s Ford+ plan for growth and value creation combines existing strengths, new capabilities and always-on relationships with customers to enrich experiences for customers and deepen their loyalty. Ford develops and delivers innovative, must-have Ford trucks, sport utility vehicles, commercial vans and cars and Lincoln luxury vehicles, along with connected services. The company does that through three customer-centered business segments: Ford Blue, engineering iconic gas-powered and hybrid vehicles; Ford Model e, inventing breakthrough EVs along with embedded software that defines exceptional digital experiences for all customers; and Ford Pro, helping commercial customers transform and expand their businesses with vehicles and services tailored to their needs. Additionally, Ford is pursuing mobility solutions through Ford Next, and provides financial services through Ford Motor Credit Company. Ford employs about 174,000 people worldwide. More information about the company and its products and services is available at corporate.ford.com.