The race for the future of the automative world has never been tighter, with reports earlier this week that Tesla is now almost as valuable as Ford. The neck-in-neck companies are focused on the same next big step for automobiles: the driverless car.
Earlier today at their Essex Engine Plant in Windsor, Canada, Ford announced yet another investment in driverless, stating their plans to spend up to $337.9 million on a new research and development center located in Ottawa, Ontario. Ford says the focus of this Ottawa Research and Engineering Centre will be on "infotainment, in-vehicle modems, gateway modules, driver-assist features and autonomous vehicles."
This move by Ford is surely influenced by the wealth of automobile and software developers that already populate the area, such as Blackberry QNX, Huawei, Nokia, and Nortel Networks. BlackBerry spokeswoman Sarah McKinney already confirmed that 400 employees will be transferred to working in the new R&D center.
Ford has said they still plan to hire up to 295 more employees, including "engineers, software developers, and high-tech workers to help Ford design the next generation of autonomous cars."
This investment is one piece of a $1 billion investment that Ford is investing into its facilities in Canada, and Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau couldn't be more thrilled about Canada's involvement in the driverless tech race:
This is about positioning Canada as a global center for automotive innovation, creating better opportunities for Canadians, and keeping Canada's automotive manufacturing sector competitive.
The Canadian government is putting their money where their mouth is, "promising to provide as much as $102.4 million towards Ford's total investment."