Market Overview

Waymo Looks To The Motor City For Autonomous Vehicle Plant

Waymo Looks To The Motor City For Autonomous Vehicle Plant

Driverless cars may be the future, but Waymo will build them in a place synonymous with the nation’s automotive past.

The autonomous vehicle company said Tuesday that it is looking for a factory in the Detroit area to outfit driverless cars with its technology following news that it’s receiving a grant from Michigan economic development officials. 

Waymo, a spinoff of Alphabet Inc (NASDAQ: GOOGL)'s Google, said the retrofitted factory will be the first in the world dedicated entirely to the mass production of completely autonomous vehicles.

The Michigan Economic Development Corporation earlier on Tuesday approved an $8-million grant to seal the deal for the Mountain View, California-based Waymo to locate in the state. Waymo said it could employ up to 400 people.

The self-driving systems will be used in Fiat Chrysler Automobiles NV (NYSE: FCAU) Pacifica minivans and, eventually, Jaguar i-Pace electric vehicles, according to Waymo. 

Major Michigan Investment 

The company is looking for a ready-to-run plant that is up to 200,000 square feet in size in metro Detroit, although it hasn’t yet identified the facility, according to a Tuesday report from The Detroit News that cited the economic development agency. The newspaper reported that Waymo will invest $13.6 million in the plant.

“The Great Lakes State is one we already know and love, with a talented workforce and excellent snowy conditions for our cars to test,” Waymo said.

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

Waymo also said Canadian supplier Magna International Inc. (NYSE: MGA) will work on the project, helping integrate the Waymo autonomous system into different vehicles.

Related Links:

Analyst: Waymo Is Worth 10 Times Tesla's Ride-Sharing Business

Waymo's Path To $50B In Annual Revenue

6 Months In Business, Autonomous Vehicles On The Road: Meet Ann Arbor's May Mobility

Photo courtesy of Waymo. 

Posted-In: autonomous vehicles The Detroit News WaymoNews Tech Media Best of Benzinga


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