Today Ford Motor announced it would open a research lab in the San Francisco Bay Area, as part of the Ford Research and Innovation division.
For the last few years, Ford has emphasized its focus on technology, so it only makes sense that the company, based in the Detroit area since 1903, would open a facility in the Bay Area. According to Ford, the lab will take advantage of its proximity to high-tech companies and local universities to drive innovation in Ford vehicles.
The lab will have a broad agenda, from clean drive systems to in-car connected services. Partnerships with app developers will also likely be a major task for the lab, as Ford has just begun to offer app integration in Sync.
"An open attitude to new ideas is critical to solving the transportation, environmental, and societal challenges we expect in the future," said Paul Mascarenas, Ford chief technical officer and vice president of Research and Innovation. "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."
From a graphic released by Ford, the lab looks like it will be situated in Palo Alto, near Stanford University, although an address has not yet been released. Ford maintains a design center in Irvine, Calif., and works closely with Microsoft, in Redmond, Wash. The new research lab will make up Ford's third major West Coast presence.
Ford's new lab will be in good company, as Volkswagen, BMW, and GM all maintain advanced technology labs in the Bay Area.