Google has been pushing forward rather quickly with their self-driving car project. After announcing that they were working with Fiat Chrysler Automobiles to add 100 of their 2017 Chrysler Pacifica's to their fleet, they are now announcing a 53,000 square-foot development center for self-driving cars, which will be in Novi, Michigan. This is just outside of Detroit, where the majority of their partners reside. Many of you may know that Detroit and the surrounding area, is home to Chrysler, General Motors and Ford – that's why the city is called the "Motor City". The reasoning for Google coming to Novi, is to be closer to their partners, so they can continue their work in the self-driving car industry. It will also make it easier for Google to collaborate with their partners.
In their post on Google+, the team announced that one of their first tasks in this new facility will be to ready their self-driving Chrysler Pacifica hybrid minivans. Google has 100 of them, or will have 100 of them before the end of the year, which they will be adding to their fleet of test vehicles. These hybrid minivans are important for the self-driving car project because it's the first minivan that Google has added to their fleet. Allowing them to test a brand new type of vehicle with their autonomous software. Where Chrysler is virtually right down the street from this new space that Google has picked up, it's not surprising to see that fitting these new Pacifica's with their software is going to be their first task at hand.
Google also mentioned that they will be moving into this space throughout 2016. Right now it's a pretty empty, but very large building. Something of this size is needed to test out self-driving cars. Although with the M-City test track on the campus of the University of Michigan, it's a bit surprising they didn't get space closer to Ann Arbor to use their track, which is already set up – which Ford is using from time to time.
Self-driving or autonomous vehicles might not make it to the public for a few more years, but that doesn't mean there isn't loads of testing left to do. Something that Google is wanting to get done as soon as possible, so these autonomous vehicles can be made available to the public.