American autonomous technology development company Waymo and Canadian global automotive supplier Magna have joined forces to setup a factory in Michigan for the production of future self-driving vehicles.
Waymo, formerly the Google self-driving car project, announced via a blog post on Medium earlier this week that they officially received approval from the Michigan Economic Development Corp. to establish a factory in Southeast Michigan. While no information regarding the time or size of the project have been revealed as of right now, Waymo has asserted that their Michigan factory will be the first factory completely dedicated to the production of self-driving vehicles.
“Waymo will first identify a facility in Southeast Michigan and, over the next few years, aim to create hundreds of local jobs in the community. We’ll be looking for engineers, operations experts, and fleet coordinators to join our team and help assemble and deploy our self-driving cars. This will be the world’s first factory 100%-dedicated to the mass production of L4 autonomous vehicles.”
The factory is expected to produce several thousand Level 4 self-driving vehicles a year after construction, and will reportedly employ up to 400 workers. Each Level 4 autonomous vehicle will be permitted to drive itself without a human driver present within certain limited conditions. According to Waymo, they intend to integrate their self-driving system into a variety of vehicles including Fiat Chrysler Automobiles and Jaguar Land Rovers with the help of Magna. Waymo plans to develop all hardware and software necessary for the project in-house in order to ensure that their technology “works as a seamless, single system.”
Waymo explained their decision to establish their factory in Michigan, stating:
“The Great Lakes State is one we already know and love, with a talented workforce and excellent snowy conditions for our cars to test. 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.”
Production of the factory is expected to begin before the end of this year.