Today, Waymo, the self-driving vehicle technology startup, announced that it will be setting up shop in a Detroit suburb and will bring over 400 tech and factory jobs to the community as soon as the summer.
Waymo, the former Google self-driving project that grew to become its own business under Alphabet – the collection of companies – will house their factory in Detroit-neighboring Novi at the American Axle & Manufacturing campus facility, which was recently used as a sequencing center for a local parts supplier. According to Tech Crunch, the facility has a targeted move date goal of Summer ’19, which will then transition the facility into the manufacturing location for Level 4 autonomous vehicles.
The new site will cost Waymo $13.6 million to renovate and according to ABC News, the company will receive an $8 million incentive grant from the state of Michigan as a result.
“Today, we’re excited to announce that we’ve found the perfect facility in Detroit. 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.
“In January, we announced that we would open the world’s first factory 100% dedicated to the mass production of L4 autonomous vehicles. We wanted this facility to benefit from a location in southeast Michigan — the heart of the American automotive industry — and its strong talent base. We began looking for a facility that would allow us to quickly get up and running by mid-2019, while offering us the flexibility to continue to grow and expand our operations in Michigan over time and where there was a strong pool of talent across engineering, operations, and fleet coordination.
Today, we’re excited to announce that we’ve found the perfect facility in Detroit. 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 new factory will also be the home of a new partnership with Magna to manufacture self-driving cars, specifically new models of the Jaguar I-PACE and Chrysler Pacifica Hybrid minivan.”
Waymo currently employees about 20 people at an office in Novi. 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.
The Waymo One self-driving car service, and accompanying app, still has Waymo-trained test drivers behind the wheel. The safety driver will eventually be removed from the vehicle. The service has slowly opened up to more people.