Self-driving cars used to be something only found in sci-fi and superhero movies, but they’re quickly becoming a reality. Waymo, the self-driving car company owned by Alphabet, has announced it is opening a factory in Detroit.
Waymo is partnering with American Axle & Manufacturing to repurpose an existing facility that will house the production of the company’s L4 autonomous vehicles. The factory is set to open later this year.
“We wanted this facility to benefit from a location in southeast Michigan — the heart of the American automotive industry — and its strong talent base,” Waymo said in a blog post.
The factory is set to bring more than 400 jobs to the Motor City, giving it the economic push that it needs. Detroit filed for bankruptcy more than five years ago, as it suffered from more than $18 billion of debt, according to NPR. The city has since climb itself out of an economic hole and more tech companies have set its eyes on Detroit as they look to expand.
Twitter and Google have established offices in Detroit while other companies have implemented partnerships with the city to boost economic growth. Google and the National Business League (NBL) announced a partnership in November aimed at assisting Black startups in Detroit shortly after Google opened its office in Little Caesars Arena.
“More and more Silicon Valley companies are looking to grow in Michigan as they realize the competitive advantages Michigan has to offer,” Michigan Governor Gretchen Whitmer said in a statement. “By choosing to establish its new facility in Detroit, Waymo is continuing the city’s momentum and further cementing Michigan as a leader in mobility.”
Detroit’s low-cost of living and experience in the automotive industry seems to be the leading reasons for Waymo’s move. As the company rolls out further plans for the city, it will be interesting to see how autonomous cars are utilized in public and private transportation.