Waymo recently started outfitting its self-driving prototypes at its new plant in Detroit.
Speaking at the Forbes Under 30 Summitt, Waymo’s chief executive, John Krafcik, dubbed the site, which has already outfitted 30 Jaguar I-Pace SUVs with its autonomous driving technologies, “the world’s first dedicated autonomous plant.” These prototypes are now in California for development and testing, The Detroit News reports.
The plant is being leased from American Axle & Manufacturing Holdings and has been repurposed by Waymo. The site is also conveniently located across the Detroit River from the Windsor assembly plant that produces the Chrysler Pacifica that is also used by Waymo for its self-driving fleet.
Waymo’s lease agreement for the facility requires it to eventual grow the workforce at the location to 400 people, including engineers, operations experts and fleet coordinators. The company has previously inked contracts to purchase no less than 62,000 Pacifica Hybrids and 20,000 Jaguars.
“JLR sends us this car in a mode that is ready to accept an easy integration of the Waymo driver,” Krafcik said. “There’s not a lot in assembly or content. … It’s a relatively straightforward process to insert the Waymo driver into the Jaguar I-PACE.”
Vehicles being made in Detroit by Waymo will eventually be used in its self-driving robotaxi fleet dubbed ‘Waymo One.’ This service launched in December last year in Phoenix and has so far been limited to just a few hundred customers.