Google Self-Driving Car Project to Open Facility Near Detroit

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The ties between Silicon Valley and Detroit continue to strengthen. Google has officially announced it will open a new self-driving technology development center in Novi, Mich., a suburb outside of Detroit.

“For the past few years, members of our team have been working from the Greater Detroit area. Now it’s time to lay down roots,” the tech company announced on its Google+ page. “Many of our current partners are based here, so having a local facility will help us collaborate more easily.”

Google says it will begin moving into the 53,000 square-foot facility this year. Once the company is all moved in, it will immediately begin work on the self-driving Chrysler Pacifica Hybrid minivans as part of its partnership with Fiat Chrysler. According to the deal inked earlier this month, Chrysler will develop and build 100 minivans to accommodate the self-driving tech from Google. The companies hope to have the minivans ready by the end of the year.

Despite the deal with FCA, Google has pointed out that it’s open to working with other automakers. Ford, for example, is allegedly close to finalizing a partnership with Google. Both companies are investing heavily in autonomous vehicles and recently joined a coalition (along with Volvo, Uber, and Lyft) to help author and expedite federal regulations for the new technology.

In addition to FCA, Google has a number of other partners located in and around Detroit. Livonia-based Roush Enterprises, for example, was chosen to build Google’s self-driving car prototypes that are now testing on public roads in Austin, Texas and near the company’s headquarters in Silicon Valley.

Source: Google