Ford hiring 400 BlackBerry engineers to work on connected cars

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Ford has announced that it is hiring 400 engineers from BlackBerry’s mobility-solutions unit to work on development of internet-connected vehicles.

The move will help Ford further build its computing expertise as the auto maker pivots to new ventures that rely more on vehicle connectivity.

Ford is investing $375 million to expand its research and development efforts in Canada as well as create a new center focused on connectivity in vehicles and all the services and features that technology can support including, advanced driver assistance systems and autonomous vehicles.

The new hires will more than double the size of Ford’s mobile connectivity engineering team as the automaker races to expand services enabled by wireless internet in cars.

The 400 hardware and software engineers come from BlackBerry’s mobile communications group. BlackBerry says no engineers from its BlackBerry QNX division were part of the transfer.

A Blackberry spokesperson said,

“The BlackBerry QNX engineers continue to develop core technology for the automotive industry,”

“This transfer allows Ford to double its connectivity engineering workforce and accelerate its efforts to build in-house solutions. As for the employees transferred, they have the opportunity to put their expertise to work for a leader in the automotive sector. This is a win-win for both companies as well as employees.”

The $375 million in new R&D investment will be used to create the Ottawa Research and Engineering Center as well as further research at other Ford facilities in Canada to improve fuel efficiency and sustainability. The investment will also support Researchers at Ford’s Windsor Powertrain Engineering Research and Development Center who are working advancing powertrain technologies, alternative fuels, and making vehicles lighter to boost fuel efficiency.

The new Ottawa Research and Engineering Center will focus on research and development across infotainment, in-vehicle modems, gateway modules, driver-assist features and autonomous vehicles. While most of the team will be at the new R&D center, some engineers will work out of other facilities in Waterloo and Oakville, Ontario, as well as Cary, North Carolina and Sunrise, Fla.