Google’s Self-Driving Cars Coming to Michigan

May 31, 2016

Michigan’s automotive industry is about to take a turn into the future.

The Google Self-Driving Car Project recently disclosed via Google+ that it will be moving into a new 53,000 square foot development center in Novi.

“For the past few years, members of our team have been working from the Greater Detroit area,” the announcement reads. “Now it’s time to lay down roots: we’re establishing a self-driving technology development center in Novi, MI.”

The Detroit News reports that the building is likely located at 46555 Magellan Drive in the Beck West Corporate Park, though Google has not yet publicly confirmed any specific details.

Google’s brief notice continues: “Having a local facility will help us collaborate more easily and access Michigan’s top talent in vehicle development and engineering.”

While the Silicon Valley company is perhaps best known for directing most of the world’s 100 billion web searches conducted every month, their self-driving car operation has been underway for more than six years.

Last month, the Self-Driving Car Project division publicized a new partnership with Fiat Chrysler. The auto makers hope to incorporate driverless technology into some of their 2017 Chrysler Pacifica minivan models by the end of the year.

The timing and location of the new facility, just 35 minutes from Fiat Chrysler’s U.S. headquarters in Auburn Hills, is no coincidence. Google says that “One of the first tasks will be to ready our self-driving Chrysler Pacifica hybrid minivans.”

Don’t expect to get in the left-hand side of an automated minivan anytime soon, though. The goal is rather to add about one hundred Pacificas to Google’s fleet of test vehicles.

Further comments from Google or Fiat Chrysler have not yet been released. However, the city of Novi’s Assistant Manager, Victor Cardenas, said the area has been busy assisting Google secure building and occupancy permits over the past few months.

“We’re excited that they’re coming,” he told the Detroit News. “It really adds to the really good list of tech companies that have opened in the city.”

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