Ford Chooses Palo Alto as Site of New R&D Lab

3/26/12Follow @XconomyDET

In January, Ford Motor Company announced it would build its first-ever West Coast R&D center in Silicon Valley. On Friday, Ford announced it has chosen downtown Palo Alto as the place to build it.  The new location will join research divisions already located in Dearborn, MI; Aachen, Germany; Nanjing, China; and Tel Aviv, Israel.

In January, K. Venkatesh Prasad, senior technical leader for open innovation with Ford Research and Innovation, told Xconomy that Ford was setting up shop in Silicon Valley to take advantage of the software development talent there as the automaker continues to increase its focus on in-car connectivity and the interaction between devices and cloud-based computers. Ford plans to recruit local employees in addition to rotating in employees from other Ford locations.

“The most exciting thing is the potential for really interesting interactions with startups,” Prasad said, adding that if a startup has a particularly compelling idea that’s not up to scale, Ford is willing to step in and co-create.

Competitor General Motors opened an “advanced technology” office in Palo Alto, CA, in 2006. Numerous European and Japanese carmakers also have outposts in Silicon Valley.

Sarah Schmid is the editor of Xconomy Detroit. You can reach her at 313-570-9823 or sschmid@xconomy.com. Follow @XconomyDET

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