Kara Swisher

Recent Posts by Kara Swisher

Ford’s CTO Drives New Silicon Valley Office Opening (Video)

Last week, Ford Motor Company officially opened a new “lab” in Silicon Valley, a move to get it immersed into the tech scene here and also burnish its innovation cred.

The reasons for the move — which some other car companies have also made — are myriad, including focusing on leveraging big data from its four million cars that have a variety of sensing and other synching technology embedded in them.

It’s all been part of an aggressive effort by Chairman Bill Ford Jr. and CEO Alan Mulally to double down on tech as a key differentiator of its automobiles.

That includes Ford’s nifty hands-free SYNC offering, which lets consumers control a variety of devices without interfering with driving. Detroit-based Ford has opened up the technology to allow third-party development using SYNC.

Now comes the inevitable Palo Alto, Calif., office in the heart of the digital industry, to push Ford further and to move the company from the car business to the “mobility” one.

That’s according to Paul Mascarenas, the charming CTO of Ford Research and Innovation, who leads the global development and implementation of the company’s technology strategy.

He talked about a wide range of issues for automakers going forward — from air bags in seatbelts to cars that sense your every move.

Mascarenas was even brave enough to let me drive him around in Ford’s latest all-electric vehicle — the 2012 Ford Focus Electric, with a range of 90 miles — which I thankfully did not crash into some geek on University Avenue.

Here’s the video of the interview:


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Another gadget you don’t really need. Will not work once you get it home. New model out in 4 weeks. Battery life is too short to be of any use.

— From the fact sheet for a fake product entitled Useless Plasticbox 1.2 (an actual empty plastic box) placed in L.A.-area Best Buy stores by an artist called Plastic Jesus