Google’s self-driving car project is moving to Detroit.
The CEO of Alphabet’s driverless car project, John Krafcik, revealed today that the company plans to lay down roots in the Greater Detroit Area by establishing a self-driving technology development center.
“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,” the Self-Driving Car Project team wrote.
There will be plenty of empty roads for Google to test its self-driving mini vans on when it moves into the new R&D facility in Novi, MI. And Google’s new R&D facility is just a 35-minute drive away from Fiat Chrysler’s US headquarters.
Fiat and Google have partnered to create the autonomous Chrysler Pacifica minivans, making it a great area to set up a new development center. Google hasn’t revealed a self-driving car that consumers can actually buy yet, however, with Apple, Tesla, and other tech companies developing their own technology, the race to dominate the market is just starting to warm up.
Google’s 53,000 sq ft development center will work with other local Detroit partners to refine the self-driving tech on the hybrid minivans. The company is aiming to add 100 Pacificas it its self-driving fleet by the end of 2016, which is also when it expects to be done moving into the new center.