In his time as Ford’s Chief Technology Officer (CTO), Ken Washington has had a hand in a number of pivotal projects for The Blue Oval, including its autonomous vehicle business and Robotics and Artificial Intelligence Research team. Washington also once famously said that Teslas “aren’t really self-driving cars,” since they lack advanced radar or LiDAR. Now, after nearly seven years with Ford, Washington is leaving the company to take a position with Amazon, according to the Detroit Free Press.
“Ken and Ford announced his plans to employees on Monday,” Ford spokesman T.R. Reid told the Free Press. “This interim transition is well planned. Ken will be taking a role as vice president of software engineering at Amazon in Sunnyvale, Calif. Washington will end his tenure at Ford on July 16th, with Jim Buczkowski, a longtime Ford colleague and Senior Henry Ford Technical Fellow, taking on interim responsibility for the company’s Research and Advanced Engineering team while a permanent successor for Washington is identified.”
Ken Washington started his career at Ford in August of 2014, when he was hired as the automaker’s vice president of research and advanced engineering. Prior to that, Washington worked as Lockheed Martin Corporation’s first chief privacy officer, vice president of the company’s Advanced Technology Center, and the vice president and chief technology officer for Lockheed Martin IT. Prior to joining Lockheed Martin, Washington served as the chief information officer for Sandia National Laboratories.
As Ford’s CTO, Washington oversaw the development and implementation of the automaker’s technology strategy, dealing with energy, propulsion systems, advanced materials, manufacturing, next-gen vehicle architectures, controls, and automated systems. Additionally, Washington also led Ford’s STEM and University research programs.