Waymo to develop autonomous car plant in Detroit

Posted Apr 24, 2019 by Tim Sandle
Waymo has selected Detroit as the area where it will develop the next continuation of its self-driving car technology. This will be in partnership with American Axle & Manufacturing, upgrading an existing facility.
Waymo s self-driving reference vehicle Firefly 1
Waymo's self-driving reference vehicle Firefly 1
Waymo's deal with American Axle and Manufacturing will include repurposing an existing facility (which currently serves as a sequencing center for a local parts supplier). The aim is to begin upgrading the facility by mid-2019, and then to have the plant ready for manufacturing Level 4 autonomous vehicles later in 2019.
In terms of autonomous vehicle development, the Level 4 is a designation indicates that an equipped vehicle can handle all of the driving - autonomously - under a given set of conditions. This is a based on set of guidelines determined by the Society of Automotive Engineers (SAE) to describe the differing levels of autonomy in driverless cars.
Commenting on the selection of Detroit as a base for the new autonomous car plant, Governor Gretchen Whitmer said: "By choosing to establish its new facility in Detroit, Waymo is continuing the city’s momentum and further cementing Michigan as a leader in mobility and the epicenter of advanced automotive manufacturing."
Waymo indicated that it has selected Michigan for its first production facility. The Alphabet spin-off company notes that it was in line for incentives from the public-private partnership agency, the Michigan Economic Development Corporation. This would help the next-generation vehicle company to create up to 400 jobs over time exclusively related to self driving.
Waymo is relatively ahead of its rivals in the self-driving car space, and the firm already operates a robotaxi service in Arizona. Waymo aims to expand this taxi service geographically over time.