Ford has opened the new 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.
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.
“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 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, HMI, 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.
“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,” added 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 facility 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.
More on connectivity testing in the March 2015 issue of Automotive Testing Technology International.