Ford is only one in a long list of carmakers that have invested in the area. Since 2011, BMW, Honda, Hyundai, Mercedes-Benz, Nissan-Renault and Toyota have all opened R&D centers in Silicon Valley.
Automakers who've set up shop or invested in Silicon Valley software companies to develop self-driving car technology.
General Motors opened its Advanced Technology Silicon Valley Office in Palo Alto to develop an HTML browser for its Cadillac CUE in-vehicle infotainment (IVI) system.
Nissan is focused on developing autonomous vehicles at its Silicon Valley facility, while Honda's operations there are working on human-machine interface technology, big data, connected vehicles and cybersecurity.
Not only are the companies opening up R&D facilities, they're also recruiting rock star security and system engineers from the mecca of computer development, Jon Allen, a principal at management and tech consulting service Booz Allen Hamilton, said in an earlier interview with Computerworld.
Meanwhile, a former mid-level Apple engineer heads Ford's new Palo Alto R&D center, just down the street from electric-car maker Tesla Motors.
GM opened its Advanced Technology Silicon Valley Office in Palo Alto to develop an HTML browser for its Cadillac CUE in-vehicle infotainment (IVI) system.
"This isn't your grandfather's automotive company any more. The [car makers] are moving away from simply being hardware manufacturers to becoming software developers," Allen said. "Fundamentally, the auto industry cannot be seen as just automakers any more. They're mobile developers."
"And, look at who Apple is hiring. They're hiring auto executives," Allen added.
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