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Tuesday, 29 January 2019 23:06

Waymo To Build Self-Driving Car Factory in Michigan

Written by Levi Sumagaysay, The Mercury News
John Krafcik, CEO of Waymo, speaks at a press conference at the North American International Auto Show in Detroit, MI, Jan. 8, 2017. John Krafcik, CEO of Waymo, speaks at a press conference at the North American International Auto Show in Detroit, MI, Jan. 8, 2017. Geoff Robins/AFP/Getty Images

Waymo said Jan. 22 that it will build in Michigan the world’s first factory dedicated exclusively to producing self-driving vehicles.

 

After securing approval from the Michigan Economic Development Corporation, the Alphabet-owned autonomous vehicle company said it will build a plant in southeast Michigan, which it expects will employ hundreds of workers in a few years.

 

“We’ll be looking for engineers, operations experts and fleet coordinators to join our team and help assemble and deploy our self-driving cars,” Waymo said in a blog post Jan. 22 “This will be the world’s first factory 100 percent dedicated to the mass production of L4 autonomous vehicles.”

 

Level 4 autonomous vehicles are considered high automation, just one step below Level 5, which is full automation. According to the Society of Automotive Engineers, Level 4 vehicles can perform all driving tasks under certain conditions, while Level 5 vehicles can drive under all conditions.

 

Giving a nod to Michigan’s legacy as the heart of U.S. auto manufacturing, Waymo said that “the Great Lakes State is one we already know and love, with a talented workforce and excellent snowy conditions for our cars to test.”

 

A Waymo spokeswoman said Jan. 22 that the company is looking for a site for the factory and that it plans to move into it midyear. Waymo expects to employ up to 400 workers there.

 

“Every person hired within this entity will be hired to work exclusively on Waymo self-driving vehicles,” she said.

 

We thank The Mercury News for reprint permission.

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