Ford said today that it is hiring 400 new engineers – 300 in Canada, and 100 in the US – to work on vehicle connectivity hardware and software, Reuters reports. The move will double the size of Ford’s connectivity engineering team.
Many of the new hires are coming from BlackBerry’s old handset business, says Reuters. Ford is also moving to establish a new research and engineering center in Ottawa, Ontario, Canada – part of a $1.2-billion investment in Canada planned over the next four years.
Ford’s expanded team of connectivity engineers will set to work on infotainment, in-car modems, gateway modules, mobile phone integration, security, driver assists, and autonomous vehicles. Such areas of focus have become increasingly important to automakers in recent years as they come to rely more on mobile data and computerized systems to help ease vehicle operation and commuting, and reduce traffic accidents.
Earlier this year, Ford announced a mobile Wi-Fi hotspot feature that will become available starting with the 2018 model year. The company has plans to put a fully-autonomous production vehicle on the road in 2021.