Automotive At Home In Silicon Valley
When we hear of Silicon Valley, automotive is not the first thing to come to mind. Google, Facebook and thousands of tech startups sure, but rarely automotive. You might be surprised though, at least 15 big names in automotive have a large presence in Silicon Valley, using the local talent to help develop their future projects.
BMW has had a facility in the area since 1998, currently employing 30 people. Here they work on improving man-machine interfaces, sensor technology, infotainment systems and advanced materials.
Bosche’s North American Research and Technology Centre is located in Silicon Valley. This team of 95 is working on energy storage, advanced safety features and algorithms for autonomous driving technology.
Ford has been using their Silicon Valley lab to recruit engineers and app developers, talent who might not have considered the automotive industry.
General Motors uses their presence in the region to stay on top of technological trends that could help the company and to simply have eyes and ears on the ground. They also administer a fund that invests in local startups.
Honda’s Silicon Valley lab is used to explore potential partnerships with tech companies and to develop the company’s connected vehicles, human-machine interface, big data and cybersecurity.
A newcomer to the area, Hyundai’s small office in the area invests in young companies and strikes partnerships with bigger players.
Mercedes has a 300 person R&D lab in Sunnyvale that focuses on advanced engineering, user experience design and electric drive technology.
Nissan’s Silicon Valley office is dedicated to the company’s goal of having an autonomous car ready for the road by 2020.
Tesla’s lone assembly plant is in Freemont, where they have 3,000 employees building the Model S sedan. The largest automotive employer in the area, Tesla also has their 350,000 sq ft headquarters at Stanford.
Toyota’s InfoTechnology Centre is also in Silicon Valley. Here the company is working on their smart electric grid that they hope to integrate into their cars, as well as other automotive computing projects.
Volkswagen has been in the area since 1998, and Silicon Valley is home to the company’s largest research facility outside of Germany. Here they work on projects like integrating Google Earth into their GPS systems and picture navigation where people can navigate to a destination by pulling a GPS location tag from a photo.
These are just the big names, there are several less well-known companies creating a strong presence in Silicon Valley too, competing for some of the best minds in the world.
By Linda Aylesworth – car-news.ca