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Ford and Pivotal developers work together at Pivotal Labs (Photo: Ford)

Ford Motor has engaged Pivotal to develop new software, marking the second time this year that a major automaker is contracting with the California specialist. In September, Daimler announced that it had quickly developed its Mercedes me application with the help of Pivotal.

Ford  said it had turned to Pivotal, which is part of the EMC technology group, to "deliver innovative products and to improve the customer experience ”“ with the agility of a start-up." It added that the cooperation has, in some cases, allowed it to speed up software development "from months to weeks." The two companies have entered a three-year stratgegic collaboration aimed at accelerating the rollout of new connected features at the car company.

Automakers are increasingly taking their cues from Silicon Valley, where a spirit of innovation is characterized by extremely fast development cycles and a lack of worry over the potential for failure. That approach contrasts sharply with the way automakers have traditionally operated, but the car industry appears willing to change.

"As we grow to become both an automaker and a mobility company, having leading software development expertise is critical to delivering at the speed consumers expect," Ford CIO Marcy Klevorn said in a statement.

Ford plans to build part of its new connected vehicle platform on top of the Pivotal Cloud Foundry, the Silicon Valley company's cloud platform. In addition, the carmaker is turning to Pivotal to boost its big-data expertise.