Ford Motor Company inaugurated a new research center in Tel Aviv on Wednesday.

The company’s executive chairman, Bill Ford, whose great-grandfather was founder Henry Ford, was present at the ceremonial opening.

The new center will serve as a research hub enhancing Ford’s global research and advanced engineering team, in addition to supporting the manufacturer’s automotive and mobility ventures through scouting technologies and startup companies in the fields of sensors, connectivity, in-vehicle monitoring, automated-systems research and cyber security, according to a company statement.

“We recognize the importance of being in one of the world’s leading innovation communities and ecosystems,” said Bill Ford. “This new center is not only an expansion of our existing Research and Innovation centers, but provides an opportunity to join a growing innovation community in Israel.”

The auto manufacturer invested $12.5 million last year in its Israeli subsidiary, SAIPS AC Ltd., to create a decision-making structure for autonomous vehicles.

“Expanding Ford’s presence in Israel with the new center will allow us to engage with the best technology and leading companies a lot faster, and further support Ford’s goals of bringing together our vehicle and technology expertise to create new solutions to meet the mobility challenges of today and tomorrow,” said SAIPS founder and CEO Udy Danino.