Ford hires 400 for Canadian connected car research

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The federal and Ontario governments each invest more than $ 100 million to support a $ 1 billion partnership with Ford of Canada.

Ford Motor Co. will hire approximately 400 employees from software company BlackBerry part of sizable new investments in Canada that include a connected-vehicle research center in Ottawa, company officials said Thursday.

Ford said on Tuesday it was investing $200 million for an advanced data center in MI to support advances in vehicle connectivity and future developments in autonomous vehicles.

"Today's announcement will help Ford of Canada transform its Windsor operations into a world-class engine facility", the release said, adding that the investments will also strengthen Ford Canada's research and development capacity at existing facilities, including the Powertrain Engineering Research and Development Centre in Windsor, Ont., which develops technologies to make vehicles lighter and more fuel efficient.

The Oakville facility and another in Waterloo, Ontario, will work in parallel with labs in the U.S. states of North Carolina and Florida.

The global market for connected vehicles will exceed US$131 billion by 2019, after growing 30 per cent annually, according to a study by Transparency Market Research that was cited by Ford.

The new Innovation Centre plans to hire as many as 295 engineers, software developers and high-tech workers to help Ford design the next generation of autonomous cars.

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Ford has said it expected to have a self-driving taxi available by 2021. Last month, the carmaker invested United States $1 billion over five years in Argo AI, a startup that makes autonomous vehicle software.

Unifor said Ford said technology upgrades to the current 5-liter engine program at Essex would be needed for expanded use of a particular spray technology in time for the 2018 model year. "So these systems are being developed and refined", Krebs told The Associated Press.

"Our government is committed to helping our most competitive industries get ahead", he said. "A lot of them have gone to Silicon Valley but since the demand for tech advancement is so high, I'm not surprised they're looking everywhere, including Canada".

The federal and Ontario governments also announced spending of $102.4 million each towards Ford's Canadian initiatives.

"Connectivity is the critical component to the future of mobility", said Raj Nair, Ford executive vice president, global product development and chief technical officer.

"Today's investments will help create and maintain nearly 800 jobs for Canadians in Windsor and across Ontario", he said.

Sources told Reuters the 7X engine, for large pickup trucks, is part of $700 million that Ford pledged to invest in its Ontario manufacturing operations during contract negotiations previous year with Canadian labor union Unifor.