Auto makers set up shop in Silicon Valley

“Four decades ago, Japanese auto companies anticipated U.S. demand for fuel efficient cars and hit the market with vehicles that caught the Detroit Three by surprise, permanently altering the ranks of the biggest auto makers,” Mike Ramsey reports for The Wall Street Journal.

“Today, the disrupters are bubbling up from California’s Silicon Valley. As software giants and startups rush to make smarter vehicles, established car makers are scrambling to avoid becoming victims of another sea change,” Ramsey reports. “The most common response: setting up research offices in the technology industry’s backyard.”

“Getting there involves a detour to Silicon Valley. Most major car makers and many of the top auto suppliers, including Robert Bosch GmbH and Delphi Automotive PLC have Bay Area research outposts. Ford Motor Co. recently moved into a new Palo Alto, Calif., office and plans to quadruple its staff there this year. German luxury brands have been picking up talent and technology here since the 1990s,” Ramsey reports. “The location gives them access to the region’s tech powerhouses, including Google Inc. and Apple Inc. who are vying for a piece of the automotive market.”

Read more in the full article here.

MacDailyNews Take: If a vehicle doesn’t interface exceedingly well with our iOS devices – meaning offer CarPlay – it’s off our list.

[Thanks to MacDailyNews Reader “David E.” for the heads up.]

Related articles:
Apple’s CarPlay success shows the power of having a long-term strategy – March 15, 2015
Apple’s real CarPlay: Cupertino doesn’t need to build cars in order to reinvent driving – February 28, 2015
Ford drops reputation-scorching Microsoft Sync, enables support for Apple’s sought-after CarPlay – December 12, 2014
Apple’s CarPlay looks like the future of in-car infotainment – April 13, 2014


  1. Got tired of waiting so I created my own CarPlay for $50. Used a Neutron S magnet to hold my iPad Mini horizontally on my dash and hooked up TaoTronics bluetooth adaptor. So I’ve got a completely wireless system and my iPad Mini is always with me.

  2. Car stuff:

    – remember that 3D mapping company apple bought? Those sensors may go in/on every car.

    – maps and driving data will inform the computer-assisted driving every car.

    – watch users will auto login, moving the seats, setting settings, and activating the cloud Siri that is your own personal assistant who alone has access to all of your cloud information. (Even Apple won’t know what your Siri knows, nor will they be able to.)

    – computer assisted driving will require that your hands be on the wheel, but will drive for you unless you resist. ??

    – no such thing as speeding. ??

    – the frame of the car will be aluminum. Ford has just done this for the F-150. It’s hard.

    – all those buttons on the console? Gone.

  3. Uh, four decades ago, Detroit was not caught by surprise. Geez, read history for Christ sake. Lee had alright ficus send this back in the Sixities and the hybrid car had patent laid down until the early 1971. What happened was conversions with the government and the part if anything happened they would get assistance. Well, Detroit was prepping for a high fuel mileage cars. They were ambushed by both government, accounts, and the wholesale destruction of engineering to penny rubbing Sales/Accountants.

  4. Seems it took Apple to light a fire under lazy car industry behinds who seem far too casual and lackadaisical about electric cars. And hilariously now are in a Keystone Kops panic mode fearing being left behind. Leave it to them and none of this would happen in timely fashion, all the more pointing to the reasons why they should be exterminated. Not to be cold-hearted about it but it’s the survival of the future technology fittest.

    1. Actually it was the success of Tesla. The idea that a new upstart car maker could just make a car that people wait on waiting lists for took them by surprise.

      By extension, it was the success of Tesla that likely gave Apple and Google the idea to pursue the car dream further. Google has shown their cards. Apple is keeping them close, as usual. Remember, Apple rarely pioneers an industry, they enter in an established industry where they can make a difference. iPhone, iPod, Apple Watch, iPad…

      1. I’m not debating what Apple does or does not pioneer, but once they entered into the fray entrenched automakers took more notice than they did with Tesla. Tesla may have made them glance casually in their electric direction, Apple jolted them out of their seats and got them to stand up and take notice, initiating action. Apple has the true resources to make things happen relatively quickly.

        And BTW Apple was the first to get the form and interface those devices were intended to take first as in the iPhone, iPod, Apple Watch and iPad. It’s as though any pre-existing concept like a flying car, if they so invented and marketed, wouldn’t be valid or would they get the credit for simply because we saw it first in books, on TV and the movies. The imagination is free, realization and creating correctly much harder. And we can imagine quite a lot. 🙂

  5. Years ago, apple show us what a really “smart” phone can do and not the crappy things we used to know and call smart.
    Apple is doing the same whit the smart watch…
    Now, will do it for the smart car, and I am not talking about Mercedes Benz “smart for two” (which I really like)

  6. I’m in the market for a new or newer vehicle. It needs to be a all wheel drive or 4WD, have heated and cooled leather seats, a heated steering wheel and a hole in the roof, plus the vehicle must have Apple CarPlay: what vehicle can I buy today that does these things?

  7. The location gives them access to the region’s tech powerhouses, including Google Inc.

    Considering the prototype self-driving cars we’ve recently been seeing from other companies, I would NOT consider Google to be any kind of ‘powerhouse’ in the upcoming automotive industry revolution. The Google Self-Driving Car looks like a half-hearted joke of a prototype when compared side-by-side with the rapidly developing alternatives.

    It kind of reminds me of that other Google joke: Google Glass, which is also being left in the dust behind a number of superior innovators, including (surprisingly) Microsoft. Apple has an active development hand in that arena as well, demonstrated by several relevant patents over the last two years.

    1. This is a little silly, but—jumping forward in time—Suppose I owned a driverless car, could I dispatch it, to pick up dry cleaning, groceries, or even an airport arrival, and bring them back to me so I could stay home and continue to binge watch Mad Men?

      1. Yes! Certainly from what I expect we’re capable of doing. Of course, you’d have to arrange ahead of time for your shop keepers to notice the car and toss your goods into it. However, getting a car to be ‘smart’ enough to deal with that great chaotic realm of navigating traffic is the big challenge. Programming such software has still never been done, despite all the buzz and hype. AI (artificial intelligence) remains remarkably primitive.

Reader Feedback

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.