The Google Self-Driving Car Project, as it is accurately named, announced via Google+ yesterday that it is building out a 53,000 square-foot technology development center in Novi, Michigan where it will “further develop and refine self-driving technology.”
“Many of our current partners are based here,” the team wrote, “so having a local facility will help us collaborate more easily and access Michigan’s top talent in vehicle development and engineering.”
Novi is about a 35-minute drive from Fiat Chrysler’s US headquarters in Auburn Hills, so it makes sense that Google would set up shop nearby in order to do some R&D work on those autonomous Chrysler Pacifica minivans. (It’ll also give the company a chance to test some wintry conditions to balance out those tough desert conditions in Arizona.) Google has previously said it wants to see 100 Pacificas added to its self-driving fleet by the end of 2016, which lines up nicely with their move-in plans at the Novi facility.