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Monday, 29 April 2019 16:59

Waymo To Re-Use Old Detroit, MI, Plant to Build New Autonomous Vehicles

Written by Paul A. Eisenstein, The Detroit Bureau
Waymo plans to use a facility on the north side of Detroit to convert Chrysler Pacifica Hybrids and other vehicles for its Waymo One fleet. Waymo plans to use a facility on the north side of Detroit to convert Chrysler Pacifica Hybrids and other vehicles for its Waymo One fleet.

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Waymo initially started out using a variety of different vehicles for its research prototypes and at one point even developed its own vehicle design working with Detroit auto supplier Rousch. It had indicated its interest in developing its own autonomous model but two years ago announced a partnership with Fiat Chrysler Automobiles to use Pacifica Hybrids.

 

Last year, Waymo upped its plans, announcing it would eventually purchase more than 60,000 of the minivans while also signing a deal with Jaguar Land Rover to acquire about 20,000 of that carmaker’s first battery-electric vehicle, the Jaguar I-Pace.

 

It subsequently said it was looking to set up a conversion center in Detroit. Vehicles that will go into the Waymo One fleet need to be heavily modified. Not only will they need computer hardware and software modifications, but they also will need a number of special sensors, including radar and a high-definition 3D laser technology called LIDAR.

 

The decision to work with American Axle is backed by an $8 million grant from e Michigan Economic Development Corp. In turn, Waymo has signed a three-year lease that will require it to create at least 100 jobs by 2021. The Silicon Valley firm says actual employment is likely to come closer to 400.

 

We thank The Detroit Bureau for reprint permission. 


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