The Michigan Strategic Fund board approved Waymo’s request to locate its vehicle integration operations in Southeast Michigan. Waymo states that it plans for its new facility to be the world’s first factory that is 100% dedicated to the mass production of L4 autonomous vehicles.
“Michigan is at the forefront of innovation in automotive design and development, and high-tech auto companies continue to realize the invaluable assets that Michigan has to offer: high-tech engineering resources, top-notch research and design, and a highly skilled workforce,” said Gov. Gretchen Whitmer.
The self-driving technology company, a subsidiary of Alphabet Inc., currently has an operation in the city of Novi with approximately 20 employees. Waymo is looking to locate its vehicle integration operations in Michigan where it will integrate its self-driving systems into the vehicle platforms of its OEM partners. The company plans to locate into a ready-to-go, light manufacturing facility space at a yet-to-be-determined location in Southeast Michigan that will support its capacity expansion plans. The project is expected to generate total private investment of $13.6 million and create 100 jobs with the potential for up to 400 jobs, resulting in a Michigan Business Development Program performance-based grant of up to $8 million. Michigan was chosen over competing sites in a number of other states.
In addition to MSF support, MICHauto, an economic development initiative of the Detroit Regional Chamber, has offered to elevate Waymo’s engagement and participation in MICHauto.
“In 2016, Waymo selected Novi as the location for its first Michigan mobility development center. Having Waymo choose to yet again invest in the Detroit region for its second mobility operation, is validation of our business case as a leading global center for technology development and integration,” said Detroit Regional Partnership Vice President of Business Attraction Justin Robinson. “We were excited to have the opportunity to compete for and win this project and value the support of the Michigan Economic Development Corporation and MICHauto in helping to close this deal.”
Waymo develops hardware and software in-house for its self-driving technology and is partnering with Magna to help integrate its self-driving system into its fleet of vehicles, including Fiat Chrysler Automobiles and Jaguar Land Rover. Waymo’s engineers are currently outfitting Chrysler Pacifica hybrid minivans with its self-driving technology.
Waymo will first identify a facility in Southeast Michigan and, over the next few years, plans to create hundreds of local jobs in the community. It will be looking for engineers, operations experts, and fleet coordinators to join its team and help assemble and deploy self-driving cars. For information on careers with Waymo, https://waymo.com/joinus/.