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Silicon Valley Comes to Detroit

Nvidia the latest in a Midwest “high-tech hub.”

by on Aug.08, 2013

An Nvidia instrument cluster prototype.

Automakers have been making a beeline for Central California in recent years, setting up a number of research and engineering facilities in the shadows of such consumer electronics giants as Google and Apple. But could the migration be turning around?

A major Silicon Valley firm, Nvidia, which made a name supplying high-end graphics for the gaming industry, is reversing the trend by setting up a technical center in Ann Arbor, less than an hour outside to Detroit, the traditional  epicenter of the auto industry.

Danny Shapiro, director of automotive for Nvidia Corp., said the new facility will help the company’s growing team of Michigan-based engineers and executives work with automakers  and suppliers to develop the next generation of infotainment , navigation and driver assistance programs – all of which can make driving safer and more enjoyable.

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“Silicon Valley is the future, Detroit is the past,” said Shapiro. “That’s the conventional wisdom.  Well, the conventional wisdom isn’t quite right. We’ve been investing in Michigan for years and we’re accelerating these efforts by opening the Nvidia Technology Center.

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Bill Ford Wants to Turn Michigan into the “Silicon Valley of Mobility”

Emphasizes benefits of “green, smart technologies.”

by on May.31, 2012

Ford Chairman Bill Ford Jr. believes Detroit and Michigan can shed their rust belt personna.

Can the Motor City shed its rust belt image and take on a persona more in line with high-tech communities like San Francisco, Palo Alto, California or Seattle? Yes, says Ford Motor Co. Chairman Bill Ford, who contends Michigan, as a whole, can be repositioned as the “Silicon Valley of Mobility.”

In a sense, it’s a matter of been-there-done-that.  In its heyday, in the early years of the 20th Century, Detroit was the quintessential American boom town, much like Silicon Valley is today.  It was dubbed by many the “Paris of the Midwest” because of its art, architecture and sophisticated lifestyle.  But things began to rapidly decline in the post-War years and today some old industrial sites are being converted back to farmland.

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But in a speech during the annual Mackinac Policy Conference, Chairman Ford insisted continuing decline is not inevitable – especially if Detroit and Michigan embrace new “green, smart technologies.”

“To address this issue, we will once again need new technologies, as well as new ways of looking at the world.  We will need to view the automobile as one element of a transportation ecosystem,” the great-grandson of Ford founder Henry Ford declared.

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