As the race continues to produce the first self-driving vehicle, Google steps up its game by announcing recently, that it will open a new autonomous driving tech. development facility in Novi, Michigan; an area located outside of Detroit.
Announcing it on their Google+ page, the company notes that there have been members of their team working in the Greater Detroit area for some years now, and opening the facility will allow the organization to lay some solid roots, and collaborate more effectively.
The company will be officially moving into the 53,000 square-foot Novi center, sometime this year. Once Google is all moved in, the team hit the ground running, and begin to crack at the autonomous Chrysler Pacifica Hybrid minivans; a project in collaboration with Fiat Chrysler Automobiles (FCA). The partnership was solidified in May, and the tech and automaker will work hand-in-hand on this new, and exciting venture: which entails Fiat Chrysler to create and produce 100 minivans, and Google to then step in to provide the technology needed to sustain a self-driving vehicle. It really is a win-win situation, where both organizations can tap into the subject matter area to produce the best of the best when it comes to autonomous vehicles. Both Google and Fiat Chrysler have very high hopes that these mini-vans just may be ready by the end of 2016.
Still, even though Google does have a partnership with Chrysler, the tech giant has still made a point to say, they are very open to collaborating with other auto manufacturers. It has been reported that Ford just might be close to inking a deal with Google as well. Both organization seem quite vested in the self-driving car industry, and both joined a coalition (along with Uber, Lyft, and Volvo) as of late, to help create and accelerate federal regulations around autonomous driving vehicles.
MSN reports that not only does Google have Fiat Chrysler in the area, but various other partners are also located in-and-around Detroit. A fine example of this is Roush Enterprises, based out of Livonia; a company that builds the autonomous-driving prototypes for Google. The era of self-driving just may be closer than we think, as Google is currently testing these prototypes on normal, everyday (public) roads in Austin, Texas; just a hope, skip, and a jump from Silicon Valley, the location of Google’s head offices.