Excerpted from the Los Angeles Times
"Ford have a hundred employees stationed in California's Silicon Valley, where they report to a former Apple engineer. It's part of a program wherein the automaker are researching how pedestrians, bicycles, and cars interact—knowledge needed as partly- and fully-autonomous, increasingly communicative vehicles continue to evolve and proliferate. This new Western office, opened a year ago, is one of many such indicators of California's emergence as the worldwide hub for developing the future of personal mobility. Ford aren't alone; other major makers active in the area include BMW, Nissan, Daimler, Honda, Hyundai, Volkswagen, and Hyundai. And tier-1 suppliers like Denso, Delphi, and Continental are in the region, as well.
"Dragos Maciuca directs Ford's California R&D centre. He says 'For 100 years, automobiles have been a mechanical engineering industry. Now, there is the shift to software, and the mecca of software is Silicon Valley.'
"California has led development of self-driving cars, advanced green vehicles and automotive software, including Google's and Apple's growing automotive operations. The state's aggressive environmental regulation and generous electric-car subsidies have nurtured companies such as Tesla. The state also has brought forth tech-driven ride services such as Uber and Lyft, and car-sharing companies like Turo and Getaround. Many envision the state's converging tech and auto industries playing a leading role in a future in which riders can order driverless vehicles on demand. 'We have the best software engineers in the country, and a good university system,' says Pasquale Romano, Chief Executive of ChargePoint, the Campbell, California company building a large network of electric-car charging stations. 'It's all the components necessary to make California the next Detroit.'