Ford Hires 400 for Canadian Connected Car Research

Ford Motor Co. will hire approximately 400 employees from software company BlackBerry Ltd. as part of sizable new investments in Canada that include a connected-vehicle research center in Ottawa, company officials said Thursday.

Ford said the Ottawa research center is part of a $500 million Canadian (US$376 million) investment. It comes amid a race by automakers to secure engineering talent to ensure they don't get left behind as vehicles become increasingly automated and connected to each other and the world around them, analysts said.

The new Ottawa Research and Engineering Centre in Canada will focus on research and development across infotainment, in-vehicle modems, gateway modules, driver-assist features and autonomous vehicles, said Ford. Additional facilities will be located in Waterloo and Oakville, Ontario, as well as Cary, North Carolina and Sunrise, Florida. It will be Ford's first center focused on connectivity research and advanced technology in Canada.

Ford also plans to increase sustainability and fuel-economy research at its Windsor and Oakville operations. The company said it will hire approximately 300 engineers in Canada and 100 additional hardware and software engineers in the U.S. to support the work of the Canadian team.

BlackBerry spokeswoman Sarah McKinney confirmed that 400 employees would be transferred from her company, saying it was part of the "pivot from hardware to software" for the company that grew famous as a maker of smartphones.

Ford has said it expected to have a self-driving taxi available by 2021. Last month, the carmaker invested $1 billion over five years in Argo AI, a startup that makes autonomous vehicle software.

Autotrader analyst Michelle Krebs said her company has done tech studies for the last three years and the one thing that comes up repeatedly is that millennials want a seamless transition from outside of the car to inside of the car.

"They want to use their phone for...

Comments are closed.