Ford has opened its new research center in Silicon Valley which focuses on advanced automotive technologies including the development of autonomous vehicles.

With the new facility, Ford expects to be among the largest automotive research centers in Silicon Valley by employing 125 researchers, engineers and scientists by the end of 2015. According to Ford Motor Co. president and CEO Mark Fields, the new research center shows the company's commitment to develop new technologies that is accessible to everyone.

The Ford Silicon Valley research center

"This new research center shows Ford's commitment to be part of the Silicon Valley innovation ecosystem - anticipating customers' wants and needs, especially on connectivity, mobility and autonomous vehicles. We are working to make these new technologies accessible to everyone, not just luxury customers," Fields said.

Dragos Maciuca, an engineer who joins Ford from Apple, will lead the company's Silicon Valley research center. Maciuca holds a Ph. D. in Mechanical Engineering from University of California, Berkeley and an MBA from the Haas School of Business.

The Ford Silicon Valley research center

Ford also said that the company will provide a Fusion Autonomous Research Vehicle to Stanford University's engineering program to begin testing the "path planning-and-prediction" algorithms that reasearchers have developed over the past year.

Moreover, Ford's research team developed a virtual test environment based on a gaming software called 'aDRIVE' that will test algorithms such as traffic sign recognition in preparation for on-road testing of autonomous vehicles.