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Member of the Month: Waymo Invests in New Self-Driving Hardware Installation Facility in Metro Detroit

Editor’s note: The Member of the Month highlights a Detroit Regional Chamber member company working to grow the regional economy through innovative leadership and programs or support of policies that benefit the business community at-large.

Waymo was selected as the member of the month for February 2019 because of their recent announcement to invest up to $13.6 million in a new self-driving hardware installation facility in Southeast Michigan. This facility could create up to 400 jobs in the region by 2025 and have a significant positive impact on the region’s economy. The launch of this facility will create jobs for engineers, operations experts and fleet coordinators to retrofit and deploy the self-driving vehicles.

The agreement signed earlier this year requires Waymo to sign a three-year lease in Wayne, Oakland or Macomb county and create up to 400 jobs to be applicable to receive an $8 million grant from the Michigan Economic Development Corp. Total planned investment in the plant would be up to $13.6 million.

This move signifies Michigan’s evolution towards becoming a global leader in autonomous and self-driving technology. Waymo ultimately decided on Michigan versus other states in the running because of the established engineering and manufacturing framework, and the flexibility the state offers in allowing emerging high-tech companies to grow.

Waymo is the latest in a flurry of Silicon Valley companies moving to Michigan. California-based automotive battery manufacturer Samsung SDI America Inc., semiconductor equipment manufacturer KLA-Tencor Corp. and information technology firm Nexient have announced major investments in Southeast Michigan over the past year. San Jose’s Cisco Systems acquired Ann Arbor-based Duo Security, a cloud-based, trusted-access provider, and last year, Google moved 100 employees from its Birmingham office to a new space in Little Caesars Arena.