One of the world’s largest automotive companies has joined Waterloo – one of Canada’s top autotech ecosystems – in a very big way. Ford Motor Company surprised many in the community with the announcement that they had quietly built a team of 150 over the last two-and-a-half-years.
The newly unveiled Ford innovation centre works on vehicle communications and infotainment infrastructure, with a particular focus on analytics and diagnostics, wireless and voice recognition technologies. This technology is part of Ford’s Sync infotainment system, which is now developed entirely in-house.
The Waterloo facility is one of three in Ontario, with related work happening at the company’s Ottawa and Oakville locations. These offices all work closely with Ford’s Michigan headquarters, which is just 300km/200mi away from Waterloo, and are part of a $500 million investment the company is making into innovation and manufacturing.
Waterloo is one of Canada’s most dynamic autotech hubs. The autotech community has grown to include nearly 100 companies, including industry leaders like Toyota, BorgWarner and Geotab.
" I think what we’re doing here in Ontario… is changing the footprint of Ford forever. "
Chief Engineer, Sync Technologies
Locally-grown startups and scale-ups, like DarwinAI, Miovision and Acerta Analytics are also making impacts at the leading edge of automotive innovation. Darwin AI, for example, recently announced a partnership with Audi that deploys new artificial intelligence technology to drive a 90% reduction in the time necessary to crunch data for the electronic brain behind the automaker’s autonomous vehicles.
Waterloo is also home to Canada’s largest university-based automotive research centre, and the University of Waterloo is Canada’s #1 computer science program, has the country’s the largest engineering department and can claim some truly exceptional students. For companies looking to innovate, Waterloo has the research support necessary to develop and commercialize exciting new products.
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