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Google’s Waymo Chooses Detroit to Build Its Driverless Cars

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Google’sWaymo, in January, that had originally announced the factory set-up to happen in Michigan, has now finalized a place for the same. The company will be producing its autonomous cars in Detroit —The company is partnering with American Axle & Manufacturing, a driveline and drivetrain components manufacturer — the factory will be repurposed to get back jobs in an area that recently lost a lot of automotive industry workforce.
Waymo expressed the desire to collaborate with a variety of automotive partners — like Canadian Magna to integrate autonomy in the company’s vehicles. Waymo expects to begin production from mid-2019 and is disbursing funds worth $13 million for the factory. Other investments are Michigan Strategic Fund’s $8 million and MichAuto’s $25,000. The combined investment is sufficient to cover the labor costs of upto 400 employees until 2025.
“Today’s announcement by Waymo shows that the City of Detroit remains at the center of the future of the auto industry. Waymo could have located the world’s first 100% dedicated level 4 autonomous vehicle factory anywhere,” said Detroit Mayor Mike Duggan. “We deeply appreciate the confidence John Krafcik and the Waymo team are showing in the Motor City.”
The Michigan Economic Development Corporation expects Waymo to be up and running with a staff of new 100 people by the end of 2021 — as against the 20-odd employees it has in its 53,000 sq.ft facility started in 2016 in Novi, Michigan, currently.
The developments have come post two years — Waymo began with transforming Chrysler minivans into driverless cars, testing them in Detroit.
Here are Waymos’s statistics –
• Waymo announced last year that it will be adding 62,000 minivans in its fleet
• As per a deal signed with Jaguar Land Rover, Waymo will fit 20,000 of its i-Pace electric SUVs with driverless systems by 2020
• The first company to get a go-ahead to test driverless cars in the state of California
• 10 million miles covered by its autonomous cars in 25 states
• 7 billion miles of simulated driving

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