Waymo to Outfit Self-Driving Vehicles at Detroit Plant

Alphabet Inc.'s Waymo self-driving unit has inked a deal to use an American Axle & Manufacturing Inc. facility in Detroit to equip vehicles with Waymo’s autonomous driving technologies.

Waymo is renting 200,000 sq ft of space, which is expected to be operational this year. The company touts the facility as the world's first factory fully dedicated to the mass production of Level 4 autonomous vehicles.

Waymo has agreed to invest nearly $14 million in the Detroit plant, which could eventually employ 400 people. As part of the plan, Waymo is receiving an $8 million grant from the Michigan Economic Development Corp.

The tech company has contracts to buy 62,000 hybrid Chrysler Pacifica minivans from Fiat Chrysler Automobiles and 20,000 Jaguar i-Pace electric cars from Jaguar Land Rover. The Pacifica minivans are built at FCA’s plant in nearby Windsor, Ont. Jaguar builds the i-Pace in Europe.

Waymo also opened a small technical center in Novi, Mich., in 2016. That facility employs about 20 people.