Ford to Open Smart Car Facilities in Michigan and Ontario, Hires Former BlackBerry Workers

Ford is making some big investments in the smart car.

Ford to Open Smart Car Facilities in Michigan and Ontario, Hires Former BlackBerry WorkersThe automaker has announced that it is opening a Research and Engineering Centre in Ottawa, Canada, where 300 engineers will explore connected car technologies. And most of those new hires will come from BlackBerry, with the Canadian tech company having established a partnership with Ford last autumn as it was winding down its smartphone operations.

Their work will complement about a hundred new hires in the States as the company seeks to shift its smart car efforts into a higher gear. To that end, it’s also planning to open a $200 million data center in Michigan in support of its future smart car products and services. Reuters reports that Ford plans to get 20-million modem-equipped cars on the road over the next five years.

The development reflects the apparently growing activity in the smart car sector, coming in the same week that Microsoft announced a licensing agreement with Toyota in support of that automaker’s smart car technology, and soon after Samsung completed its acquisition of smart car components maker Harman. It all points to a rapid acceleration in smart car technology as both tech companies and car makers converge on the growing market.

Sources: Reuters, TechCrunch, Bloomberg