Google's self-driving vehicle division has leased factory space to turn conventional vehicles into autonomous ones, with production beginning in the middle of 2019.
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Waymo has announced it will lease space at American Axle & Manufacturing's Holbrook Avenue factory, which was last used for axle production in 2012.

"We've found the perfect facility in Detroit," John Krafcik, Waymo's CEO, told Automotive News.

"We will partner with American Axle & Manufacturing to repurpose the existing facility, bringing a work force back to an area where jobs in the automotive industry were recently lost."

The company's first factory will be used to fit autonomous driving hardware to Chrysler Pacifica people movers and, later, Jaguar I-Pace electric crossovers.

Waymo plans to convert 62,000 Chrysler Pacificas from the middle of the year, and add 20,000 I-Pace crossovers to its fleet from 2020.

Google will initially invest US$13.6 million ($19.1 million) to make the facility suitable for its needs, and has the option of taking up more space later on, if required.

Terms of the rental agreement, and details about how many people Waymo plan to hire have yet to be revealed. Reports indicate around 400 people could be employed at the plant.

Waymo says this announcement fulfils its commitment in January to have the "world’s first factory 100 per cent dedicated to the mass production of Level 4 autonomous vehicles".

The company chose to set up its factory in Detroit not only because of the city's history, but also due to the "strong pool of talent across engineering, operations, and fleet coordination" in the region.