Bill Ford looks to Silicon Valley for new car technology

October 27, 2011 7:44:56 PM PDT
He's not your typical corporate chairman: Bill Ford from the Ford Motor Company is known to stalk Silicon Valley in search of new technology to put in his cars.

He's a vegetarian, a guitarist and the owner of the Detroit Lions, but his main focus is steering the carmaker founded by his great-grandfather toward the future.

The Fords of tomorrow will be very high-tech, thanks to innovations coming out of Silicon Valley.

"I'm on the board of eBay, so I'm out in the valley all the time," said Ford. "I make a point of getting out and seeing companies and finding out what the latest and greatest is."

Ford sys new features in cards will enhance safety and tap into the cloud.

"It can do everything from monitor your blood sugar and your blood pressure to continuously adjusting your suspension and your steering, based upon not only current road conditions but anticipated road conditions," Ford said of one of his vehicles.

But will too much technology be distracting for drivers?

"That's our job, to introduce technology in a sensible fashion and, done correctly, it should make driving a much-safer and more pleasurable experience," Ford said.

Ford sees the U.S. as a strong market for fuel-efficient vehicles, although the carmaker is expanding and investing in growth countries such as China and India.

Ford is pleased that President Obama has reached a new trade agreement with South Korea, a market that was closed for years to U.S. companies.

"We don't mind having Hyundais and Kias here," Obama said. "But we want Made in America stuff in other countries."

On the topic of the "Occupy" protests, Ford addresses their companies that the companies aren't hiring while CEOs make millions. Ford's pay last year was $26.5 million.

"We're hiring," Ford said. "We're hiring people at all levels in high-paying jobs, and we're very bullish on North America."

The new union contract calls for Ford to add 12,000 people; however, new hires will be paid at a lower scale.

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