Ford is opening a Smart Mobility Innovation office in London to enable a 40-strong R&D team to be closer to top academics and technology firms based in the capital.

Located at the Here East innovation hub at the Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park in Stratford, the new team will work on "cutting edge trials" in London including the plug-in hybrid Transit fleet project launching later this year.

“Basing our rapidly growing team here in the heart of mobility innovation in London is critical to accelerating our learning and development of new technologies," said Steven Armstrong, group vice president and president of Europe, Middle East and Africa at Ford.

"The location at Here East will allow us greater collaboration and the out-of-the-box thinking needed to tackle the urban transport challenges of tomorrow."

The Olympic Park's private road network may also be used for vehicle testing in the future.

Here East is also home to teams from Loughborough University, Advanced Propulsion Centre and UCL Robotics.