Skip to Content
Smart cities

Waymo plans to open the world’s first self-driving-car factory this year

January 23, 2019

Waymo has announced plans to open the world’s first factory dedicated to making autonomous vehicles in Michigan later this year.

The details: Waymo, Google’s self-driving spinoff, has said it will spend $13.6 million to retrofit an as-yet-unspecified factory in Detroit, hiring up to 400 people, according to the Associated Press. State authorities will hand the company a grant worth $8 million if it fulfills its job pledges.

A first: The plant will be dedicated to building “Level 4” autonomous cars, which means the vehicle can do all the driving within specific geofenced areas and under certain conditions. Workers there will build driverless versions of the electric Jaguar I-PACE and Chrysler’s Pacifica hybrid minivan, as part of Waymo’s partnership with the two companies. Waymo builds the software and hardware, and then integrates it into certain models of its vehicles.

An eye on expansion: The announcement is a sign of Waymo’s growing ambitions. It launched its first (small-scale) commercial robotaxi service in Phoenix in December. It is ramping up testing efforts to prove that its technology is safe. And it opened a small outpost in Shanghai last year.

Keep Reading

Most Popular

A Roomba recorded a woman on the toilet. How did screenshots end up on Facebook?

Robot vacuum companies say your images are safe, but a sprawling global supply chain for data from our devices creates risk.

A startup says it’s begun releasing particles into the atmosphere, in an effort to tweak the climate

Make Sunsets is already attempting to earn revenue for geoengineering, a move likely to provoke widespread criticism.

10 Breakthrough Technologies 2023

Every year, we pick the 10 technologies that matter the most right now. We look for advances that will have a big impact on our lives and break down why they matter.

These exclusive satellite images show that Saudi Arabia’s sci-fi megacity is well underway

Weirdly, any recent work on The Line doesn’t show up on Google Maps. But we got the images anyway.

Stay connected

Illustration by Rose Wong

Get the latest updates from
MIT Technology Review

Discover special offers, top stories, upcoming events, and more.

Thank you for submitting your email!

Explore more newsletters

It looks like something went wrong.

We’re having trouble saving your preferences. Try refreshing this page and updating them one more time. If you continue to get this message, reach out to us at with a list of newsletters you’d like to receive.