Ford is hiring more than 400 dedicated software and hardware engineers, with approximately 300 of those being based in Canada.
Prime Minister Justin Trudeau was on-hand at Ford's Essex Engine Plant in Windsor, Ontario today as the car company announced a new $500 million investment toward research and development. Some of that money will be going toward a brand new facility in Ottawa dedicated to R&D across infotainment, in-vehicle modems, driver-assist features, and autonomous vehicles.
The federal government has pledged $102.4M to Ford Canada, while the government of Ontario will be giving the same amount.
Ford is hiring more than 400 dedicated software and hardware engineers, with approximately 300 of those being based in Canada. These hirings will effectively double the current size of the team.
"Connectivity is the critical component to the future of mobility," said Raj Nair, Ford executive vice president, global product development and chief technical officer. "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.
Ford says the Ottawa Research and Engineering Centre will be its first centre focused on connectivity research and advanced technology in the country. It will be joined by facilities in both Waterloo and Oakville, Ontario.
It's becoming clearer every year that car companies focusing money and time exclusively on new engines and models is a thing of the past. The software features included in new cars are becoming just as important as horsepower or cargo space, if not more. Considering engineers can improve and advance everything from infotainment to fuel economy to alternative fuels, it shouldn't come as a surprise that these huge investments are becoming more commonplace.
Ford is far from the only automaker to be injecting massive amounts of money and resources toward connectivity and related fields. In June of last year, for instance, General Motors made an announcement with Trudeau in Oshawa, Ontario outlining the creation of new engineering jobs and the new Automotive Software Development Centre in Markham, Ontario.
These announcements come on the heels of concerns over factory jobs being lost to other countries, including numerous new plants from virtually every major automaker that are opening or being built in Mexico.
It's clear money is still being invested in the Canadian auto industry - it's just being allocated now to different areas as customer demands change.
Photo: Prime Minister of Canada website