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Google self-driving unit Waymo picks Detroit factory site

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.

Waymo announced plans for the factory in January

A Waymo self-driving vehicle moves through an intersection in Chandler Arizona, U.S., December 2, 2017. (Natalie Behring/Reuters)

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.

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 closed in 2012.

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