Self-Driving Car Factory To Open In Detroit, Reusing Old American Axle Facility

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Detroit’s landed a big project that’s another signal that the Motor City can also be the mobility city.

Google’s autonomous car arm Waymo is opening what they are calling the world’s first factory completely dedicated the mass production of L4 autonomous vehicles. It will be their second facility in Michigan and will be located at a repurposed American Axle & Manufacturing facility.

They’re partnering with Magna to transform Fiat Chrysler Pacifica Minivans and Jaguar vehicles into self-driving vehicles, most likely for their new ride-hailing service. This increases the chance that Detroit would be the second market for Waymo One, currently launched in Phoenix.

So what exactly an L4 autonomous vehicle?

That’s a car that can work without the driver but only under certain circumstances, such as a highway. While on city streets or inclement weather, the driver would take over.

As we talked about on a recent Daily Detroit podcast, full Level 5 autonomy is still a ways away. But Waymo is considered to be the technology leader.

The factory will be open in Mid-2019 and will be home to about 400 jobs. Bedrock Real Estate apparently helped make the deal happen.

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