Ford is not alone in its sojourn westward from Detroit.
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.
Since 2011, BMW, Honda, Hyundai, Mercedes-Benz, Nissan-Renault and Toyota have all opened R&D centers in Silicon Valley.
Beyond the necessary sensors and cameras, autonomous vehicles are enabled by software. This software operates with artificial intelligence and learns with new experiences, Carlson said.
Autonomous cars will be capable of not only communicating with other vehicles on the roadway, but also with the public infrastructure around them.
"Software brings all that together. That's why we're seeing so much investment and all the mergers and acquisitions," Carlson said.
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