1/26/2015

Ford Opens Silicon Valley Research Center

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Ford Motor Co. has officially opened a new research center in California dedicated to connectivity, mobility and autonomous vehicles.

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Ford Motor Co. has officially opened a new research center in California dedicated to connectivity, mobility and autonomous vehicles.

The Research and Innovation Center Palo Alto in Stanford Research Park is expected to house 125 scientists and researchers by the end of 2015. The facility is headed by Dragos Maciuca, a former controls systems engineer at Apple Inc. who previously worked at BMW and Nissan.

The facility is working with the Nest interface to develop systems that can connect the vehicle with its owner's home. The center also is collaborating with Carnegie Mellon University on a speech recognition system that uses a graphics processing chip for faster and more powerful operation.

Elsewhere, the facility is working with the Georgia Institute of Technology on technology that can remotely operate golf carts on the school's Atlanta campus from Palo Alto. Ford says the capability might one day be used by car-sharing services or to enable remote valet parking.

Ford is using the new center to accelerate development work with Stanford University on path-planning-and-prediction algorithms for self-driving vehicles. A new virtual test environment enables researchers to quickly evaluate and refine algorithms such as traffic sign recognition before beginning on-road testing.