Ford has officially opened the doors on the company's new facility in California. The Silicon Valley Lab in Palo Alto will serve as a hub for technology innovation where the manufacturer's engineers and designers can focus on independent projects designed to make vehicles safer and more convenient. Ford has similar facilities all over the world, but this is the first of its kind in the States. The company is hoping the location, smack in the middle of America's technology capitol, will help draw in new talent and open the door for further technology partnerships.

In addition to cultivating new relationships with other companies in the area, Ford will also use the Silicon Valley Lab as a repository for data. The automaker employs a raft of sensors on its vehicles, and that information can be later used to better tailor the driving experience on new models. Ford says it may also look to use the data to improve efficiency and lessen congestion. Check out the full press release by scrolling below.
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Ford's New Silicon Valley Lab Opens, Ready to Engage Bay Area Tech and Startup Community to Accelerate Innovation

Ford Silicon Valley Lab now officially open for business in Palo Alto, Calif.

Ford frames Silicon Valley Lab's mission around three priorities: big data, open-source innovation and user experience to enhance future personal mobility

MOUNTAIN VIEW, Calif., June 18, 2012 – The Ford Silicon Valley Lab (SVL) is now officially open for business, ready to engage the tech community in the quest for the next great idea.

Ford Executive Chairman Bill Ford today comes to the spiritual home of the computer and consumer electronics industry to celebrate the grand opening of the Ford Silicon Valley Lab and to participate in the Computer History Museum's "Revolutionaries" lecture series.

"We have been innovating for more than a century at Ford, but we acknowledge we don't have a monopoly on creativity," said Ford. "Our new office will complement our existing research efforts by allowing us to tap into the region that has been driving consumer technology forward in recent decades."

While Ford is strongly associated with the industrial heartland of America, the company has global reach with Research and Innovation facilities in Dearborn, Mich.; Aachen, Germany; Nanjing, China; and technology scouts in Tel Aviv, Israel.

"We want Silicon Valley to view Ford as a platform that is open, accessible and ready for their innovative ideas and technologies," said Paul Mascarenas, chief technical officer and vice president of Ford Research and Advanced Engineering. "We are looking for unexpected solutions for the future, and we believe Silicon Valley is the right place to round out our global research organization.

"We view technology as more than just an impressive list of microprocessors, sensors and software," he added. "It is the enabler of a safe, intuitive and enjoyable time behind the wheel."

Ford's Silicon Valley Lab will serve as a local touch point for the many relationships Ford already has with Bay Area technology companies and startups. Its core mission, though, is to operate as an independent lab focused on three key areas supporting the future of personal mobility:


Big data – Ford is increasingly a data-driven company, fusing both internal and external sources to shape product and marketing offerings and support strategic decision making. In addition, vehicle data from the growing list of sensing technologies built into the car can be used locally to create a more personalized, convenient and productive driving experience, then aggregated to help address congestion and improve efficiency.

Open-source innovation – Viewing the car as a platform and providing access to real-time data allows for the rapid development of custom hardware and software applications. Ford has extensive experience in development of on-board and off-board applications for the SYNC® in-car connectivity system. Now the Silicon Valley Lab is looking at open-source development using the research platform OpenXC developed with Bug Labs.

User experience – Information and services need to be presented to the driver in ways that don't take away from the primary task of operating the vehicle. Ford is rethinking how drivers and passengers interact with vehicles as well as how vehicles should interact with them. Innovations in design and new technologies can help to optimally organize, filter and deliver content.

"As new ways of processing, curating and filtering information are conceived, the possibilities for enhancing personal mobility are virtually limitless," said Venkatesh Prasad, general manager of the new lab and senior technical leader of open innovation. "With many of the finest forward-thinking minds in the world located in the San Francisco Bay region, the Ford Silicon Valley Lab is ideally positioned to interact with and forge connections to local innovators and grow the relationships with our current partners."

The Ford SVL team is now ready to listen, learn and even teach at its location in downtown Palo Alto. For more information or to contact the lab, visit http://www.fordsvl.com.


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