Ford investing US$375M for R&D in Canada; doubling connectivity team, new research and engineering center
Ford is investing an additional C$500-million (US$375 million) in its Canadian research and development presence, adding connectivity software and hardware engineers and establishing a new Ottawa Research and Engineering Center. Ford is adding more than 400 connectivity engineers in Canada and the US—approximately 300 of whom will be based in Canada—more than doubling Ford’s mobile connectivity engineering team.
The new Ottawa Research and Engineering Center in Canada will focus on research and development across infotainment, in-vehicle modems, gateway modules, driver-assist features and autonomous vehicles.
Additional facilities will be located in Waterloo and Oakville, Ontario, as well as Cary, North Carolina and Sunrise, Florida. This will be Ford’s first center focused on connectivity research and advanced technology in Canada, and it will serve global connectivity needs for Ford.
Connectivity is the critical component to the future of mobility. Whether it’s providing information to help reduce congestion in cities, allowing vehicles and infrastructure to communicate to keep us safer on the road or simply knowing all your personal settings when you enter a self-driving vehicle, connectivity is the key. By more than doubling our connectivity talent and establishing a research center, we can innovate faster and deliver more software and services to exceed our customer’s expectations.—Raj Nair, Ford executive vice president, global product development and chief technical officer
The global connected car market will reach $131 billion by 2019, with an annual growth rate of 30 per cent per year, according to a Transparency Market Research study. Ford currently offers built-in modems across multiple vehicle lines and plans to equip 20 million cars globally with built-in modems in the next five years.
Part of the R&D investment relates to research at Ford’s Windsor and Oakville Operations where Ford will be increasing its sustainability and fuel efficiency research capacity. Advancing powertrain technologies, alternative fuels and lightweighting development at Windsor’s Powertrain Engineering Research and Development Centre (PERDC), as well as furthering Ford’s patented research focused on capturing industrial emissions and converting them to useable fuel at the Fumes-to-Fuel Research Development Center in the Oakville Assembly Complex, will be supported.
In the past six months, Ford has announced C$1.2 billion (US$900 million) in Canadian investments, including a C$700-million (US$525-million) investment in its manufacturing facilities. The company is transforming its Windsor Operations into a world-class engine facility and adding an all-new global engine program, supporting its future in Ford’s global powertrain operations. Oakville Assembly Complex will continue to upgrade its facilities to support the production of one of Ford’s most popular crossover utilities, the Ford Edge, which is exported from Canada to more than 100 countries.
Ford’s investments are supported by both the federal and provincial governments, as well as by the successful labor negotiations with Unifor (Canada’s largest private-sector union) last November.