Google’s Waymo to put factory in Michigan

- Associated Press, LANSING (MICHIGAN)

Jan 24, 2019-

Google’s self-driving car spinoff Waymo said on Tuesday it will bring a factory to Michigan, creating up to 400 jobs at what it describes as the world’s first plant “100 percent” dedicated to the mass production of autonomous vehicles.

The company plans to spend about $13.6 million to retrofit a to-be-determined manufacturing facility in the Detroit area. In exchange, it will get a state incentive grant worth up to $8 million that was approved Tuesday by the Michigan Strategic Fund Board.

Waymo spokeswoman Alexis Georgeson said the company plans to hire up to 400 people to work at the factory, including engineers, operations experts and fleet coordinators. She said Waymo is looking for a site and hopes to open the plant in the middle of this year. A memo from the Michigan Economic Development Corp. says Waymo will create 100 jobs, with the potential for up to 400, and it chose Michigan despite a “high level of interest” from states in the Midwest, South and Southwest.

The company integrates its self-driving system into vehicles it buys from automakers and is currently testing autonomous Chrysler Pacifica minivans in a preferred rider programme for passengers in the Phoenix area, but with human backup drivers on board.

 Waymo, which has a 20-employee facility in the Detroit suburb of Novi where it tests vehicles in snowy weather, will put the new factory in Wayne, Oakland or Macomb counties, where the auto industry dominates the economy with thousands of jobs from US and foreign-based automakers as well as parts supply companies.

Published: 24-01-2019 08:41

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