Ford Motor Co. is engaging over 400 experts in engineering center in Toronto who will work on research connected with vehicle technology.
The new engineers — about 300 of them in Canada — will double the size of its connectivity engineering workforce. The engineers previously worked at Blackberry’s mobile communications group and have experience working with QNX, the operating system Ford used for its Sync 3 infotainment system, automaker said on Thursday in the announcement. The new Ottawa center will focus on infotainment, in-vehicle modems, gateway modules, handset integration, driver assist features and autonomous vehicles. It will be the first of five such centers.
Ford will open four more centers in Ontario cities of Waterloo and Oakville as well as North Carolina and Florida.
The date of the opening four additional centers in Canada and U.S. is not yet known, but what we know is that additional 100 engineers will be added in the U.S.
‘’Connectivity is the critical component to the future of mobility,” Raj Nair, Ford’s head of global product development and chief technical officer, said in a statement. “Whether it’s providing information to help reduce congestion in cities, allowing vehicles and infrastructure to communicate to keep us safer on the road or simply knowing all your personal settings when you enter a self-driving vehicle, connectivity is the key. By more than doubling our connectivity talent and establishing a research center, we can innovate faster and deliver more software and services to exceed our customer’s expectations.”
Ford’s investment in vehicle connectivity comes as cars and trucks increasingly interact with phones, houses and other vehicles. The automaker was one of the auto industry’s early adopters of in-vehicle, hands free infotainment systems with Sync and MyFord Touch. Although early versions were riddled with problems, Ford has earned praise for its latest iteration, Sync 3. Ford said that Sync software is in more than 15 million vehicles, and expects that number to grow to 43 million by 2020.
The automaker also plans to integrate the Amazon Alexa voice recognition system into some of its nameplates, and is adding WiFi hotspots as an option in 2018 model year vehicles.