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Google to Open Self-Driving Car Center In Detroit Suburb

GoogleNeglecting vehicles costs the United States economy over two billion dollars annually. And now Google is trying to prevent that by bringing lower maintenance, self-driving cars back to the birthplace of the auto industry: Detroit.

John Krafcik, CEO of Google’s Self-Driving Car Project, announced on the social media site Google+ that they will open a technology center in the Detroit suburb Novi. This 53,000-square-foot development center will serve as a hub for Google to work with other automotive industry professionals.

The goal is to further develop, improve, and refine self-driving technology. Google has been developing this technology for more than six years, and Krafcik believes it is now time to lay down roots.

On the subject of the Greater Detroit area, USA Today reports, Krafcik’s said, “Many of our current partners are based here, so having a local facility will help us collaborate more easily and access Michigan’s top talent in vehicle development and engineering.”

Krafcik did not mention specifics about the center’s location, investment amount, or number of projected employees. He did mention that Google has had engineers working in southeast Michigan for some time, citing offices in Ann Arbor and Birmingham.

Google’s first project is to work on self-driving Chrysler Pacifica hybrid minivans. The company announced in early May their first official automotive partnership with Fiat Chrysler Automobiles NV with the goal of producing 100 self-driving Pacificas with Google’s new technology.

This partnership with Chrysler is not exclusive, and Google has mentioned that they are in talks with other automotive dealers in order to speed up the development of self-driving vehicles.

Google tests their autonomous vehicles in Washington, California, Arizona, and Texas. This technology center will be Michigan’s first for development and production of self-driving vehicles.

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