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Silicon Valley forcing automakers to be more proactive with research

A growing number of tech companies joining self-driving vehicle research has forced automakers to become more proactive

By: Michael Hatamoto from Feb 17, 2015 @ 12:03 CST

The automotive industry is embracing change - and increasing pressure - from the number of technology companies interested in developing self-driving and connected car features.


Google, Sony, Apple, and other tech companies are interested in developing everything from their own vehicles down to software and hardware that can be used in next-generation cars. Google's public ambition to develop a self-driving vehicle has been noticed by automakers, interested in learning from the tech company's successes and failures.

"Google is pushing the theme of self-driving cars very strongly," said Volkmar Denner, CEO of Bosch, during a conference in Germany. "That's having a very positive effect for the entire automotive industry, because it enormously accelerates the pace of introducing drive-assist systems and semi-automatic functions."

To counter this increased pressure from Silicon Valley, automakers such as Ford, GM and others are investing more resources into autonomous technology. However, automakers are concerned of even higher demand for skilled workers, with Bosch, BMW, Volkswagen, and other companies fighting to retain employees.