Google’s Waymo Picks Detroit For Self-Driving Factory

  • Google’s Waymo Picks Detroit For Self-Driving Factory

Google’s Waymo Picks Detroit For Self-Driving Factory

The company, once known as Google's self-driving auto project and now a leader in the push to develop autonomous vehicles, had previously said it was scouting locations in southeast MI but did not name a specific city.

Waymo said the facility will be the world's first factory 100 percent dedicated to the mass production of L4 (level-4) autonomous vehicles.

Waymo has announced it will lease space at American Axle & Manufacturing's Holbrook Avenue factory, which was last used for axle production in 2012. "We will partner with American Axle & Manufacturing to repurpose an existing facility, bringing a workforce back to an area where jobs in the automotive industry were recently lost", the blog post reads.

Financial details of the arrangement weren't disclosed.

Alphabet Inc. Waymo plans to spend around $13.6 million and create up to 400 jobs at the site, which is expected to open in the middle of the year.

The selection of the facility by Waymo follows the Michigan Economic Development Corp.'s approval of an $8 million performance-based grant for the project. The startup has partnered with Magna to build thousands of self-driving cars at the factory, including autonomous versions of the all-electric Jaguar I-PACE and Chrysler Pacifica Hybrid minivan, in a bid to deploy its ride-hailing service at scale.

"There has been a real risk that the shift of the automotive industry could move from Detroit to Silicon Valley, and we've been fighting that every step of the way", Detroit Mayor Michael Duggan said after learning about Waymo's plans.

Waymo conducted the first public road tests with no one in the driver's seat in the Phoenix suburb of Chandler back in October 2017.

Providing self-driving vehicles are the masses is no easy task. ($NASDAQ:GOOG), recently announced that it would add up to 400 jobs in MI in order to mass produce its fleet of vehicles by mid-2019.

The company said the new Detroit facility should be operations by mid-2019.