Ford Motors: Success Story
When people think of Ford Motor Company, they often think of Detroit, Michigan—the birthplace of the automobile. While Ford remains headquartered in Dearborn, Michigan, the company is forward-thinking, realizing that the future of the automotive industry is not only manufacturing-driven, but also technology-driven. And much of the technology that drives future trends comes out of Silicon Valley.
Keeping a pulse on the technology industry, and seeing where the automotive industry was headed, Ford expanded its Research and Innovation Center in Palo Alto in January 2015, moving the facility to Stanford Research Park which built upon an alliance started in 2013 with Stanford University engineering students. Beyond the natural synergy between Stanford University and the developing technologies in the automotive sector, locating within Stanford Research Park allows Ford to accelerate the company’s Ford Smart Mobility plan to develop innovative technologies and experiments in five key areas: mobility, connectivity, customer experience, autonomous vehicles, and data and analytics.
The Research and Innovation Center Palo Alto is an extension of Ford’s global Research & Advanced Engineering organization, with centers also in Dearborn and Aachen, Germany. The Palo Alto facility serves to maintain Ford’s Bay Area technology company and university relationships, such as with Stanford, and more importantly, grow and forge new connections and partnerships, scout new technologies and collaborate to develop solutions for future mobility challenges. With more than 100 researchers, engineers and scientists on staff at its Research and Innovation Center in Palo Alto, Ford now has one of the largest automotive research centers in Silicon Valley.
Ford and Nest team up at Stanford Research Park
Beyond the University connection, Ford is conducting a series of research experiments with Nest, another Stanford Research Park-based company, to target home energy and emergency system management. Ford is integrating with Nest’s products and looking at ways to tie in vehicle data and synergize the information with the smart home innovation environment using the Nest thermostat.
Cars are computers as much as they are transportation vehicles
Automobiles of today are increasingly becoming mechanical machines with a digital soul. Data may soon eclipse horsepower, and the automobile as we currently know it may soon become a thing of the past. Many of these changes are already underway, and a number of businesses located in Stanford Research Park are playing a part.