Tech giant Google’s autonomous car spinoff Waymo said Tuesday this week that it will bring a factory to Michigan and generating up to 400 jobs at what the company called as the world’s first plant 100 percent devoted to the mass production of autonomous vehicles.
The company plans to invest nearly USD 13.6 million to retrofit a to-be-determined production facility in the Detroit area. In return, it will get a state stimulus funding worth up to USD 8 million that was approved on the same day by the Michigan Strategic Fund Board. A spokeswoman from Waymo, Alexis Georgeson stated that the company plans to acquire up to 400 workforces to work at the factory, including engineers, operations experts, and fleet coordinators. She further said that Waymo is looking for a place and expects to begin the plant in the mid of this year. Furthermore, a note from the Michigan Economic Development Corp. noted that Waymo will produce 100 jobs, with the potential for up to 400, and it picked Michigan despite a high level of interest from states in the Midwest, South, and Southwest.
The company integrates its autonomous system into vehicles, purchases from automakers and is currently experimenting self-driving Chrysler Pacifica minivans in a preferred rider program for commuters in the Phoenix area, but with human backup drivers on board. It also plans to further the service to the San Francisco area but hasn’t specified a time span. Waymo, which has a 20-employee facility in the Detroit area of Novi where it experiments vehicles in wintry weather, will put the new factory in Wayne, Oakland or Macomb counties, where the auto industry rules the economy with thousands of jobs from the U.S. and abroad-based automakers as well as parts supply firms.