Automated & Connected

Photo: Waymo

Waymo looks to retrofit factory in Detroit for AV production

AV developer Waymo is looking to build a factory in the Detroit, Michigan area to fit cars with its autonomous technology. Waymo says that the retrofitted factory will be the first dedicated to the mass production of completely autonomous vehicles.

According to a report, Waymo seeks a ready-to-run plant that is up to 200,000 square feet in the Detroit metro area. It hasn’t yet identified the facility but plans to invest $13.6 million in the plant.

The announcement follows news of the Michigan Economic Development Corporation (MEDC) approving an $8 million grant to support Waymo locating in Michigan. Waymo states the facility could employ up to 400 people.

Waymo says that its self-driving systems will be applied to Fiat Chrysler Automobiles, Pacifica minivans and, in the future, Jaguar i-Pace electric vehicles.

“Thanks to our collaboration with MEDC, we’ll bring new job opportunities to the talented citizens of Southeast Michigan. The Great Lakes State is one we already know and love, with a talented workforce and excellent snowy conditions for our cars to test,” said Waymo.

“Our local engineers are already hard at work outfitting our Chrysler Pacifica hybrid minivans with Waymo technology, and now we’re looking forward to expanding our roots."

The MEDC grant requires that the Waymo plant be running by the end of 2021 with at least 100 employees.

About Mark Miller

Mark Miller is a contributing writer and assistant news editor for SAE International in Warrendale, PA. He has worked as a contributing technology writer and editor for IBM and other advanced information technology firms. His areas of concentration include artificial intelligence, cybersecurity, analytics and Internet of Things technologies.