High-tech cars bring Detroit, Silicon Valley face to face - Sioux City Journal

| The office has all the trappings of a high-tech startup. Welcome to the Palo Alto home of the Ford Motor Co. , six miles from the headquarters of Google. Meanwhile, in a squat, industrial building in suburban Detroit, a short drive from Ford's headquarters, workers are busy building a small fleet of driverless cars. The convergence of cars and computers is blurring the traditional geographical boundaries of both industries. Silicon Valley is dotted with research labs opened by automakers and suppliers, who are racing to develop high-tech infotainment systems and autonomous cars. Tech companies — looking to grow and sensing an industry that's ripe for disruption — are heading to Detroit to better understand the auto industry and get their software embedded into cars. The result is both heated competition and unprecedented cooperation between two industries that rarely spoke to each other five years ago. We're educating both sides," says Niall Berkerey, who runs the Detroit office of Telenav, a Sunnyvale, California-based firm that makes navigation software. For years the fast-paced tech industry showed little respect for the plodding car industry. Google and Palo Alto-based Tesla, with its high-tech electric sedans, helped change that. "People think it's shiny Silicon Valley versus grungy Detroit, but that's garbage," says Chris Urmson, who leads Google's self-driving car program. Source: siouxcityjournal.com