DETROIT (AP) — Google’s self-driving car spinoff Waymo says it will reopen an axle plant in Detroit to convert conventional vehicles so they can drive autonomously.
The company says it will lease a now-closed American Axle & Manufacturing plant north of downtown so it can convert the vehicles, mostly Chrysler Pacifica minivans.
Waymo plans to spend around $13.6 million and create up to 400 jobs at the site, which is expected to open in the middle of the year.
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The company will get an incentive grant from the state of Michigan worth up to $8 million.
Waymo announced plans for the factory in January. The company said it wanted a facility in southeast Michigan due to the strong pool of automotive talent in the area.
The axle plant, which made parts for full-size pickup trucks, closed in 2012. Work has already begun to convert it so Waymo can begin work.
Waymo already has a small facility in the Detroit suburb of Novi, where it tests vehicles in snowy weather. The company is running a robotaxi service in the Phoenix area with autonomous vehicles that have human backup drivers.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.
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