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Google’s self-driving car project moves to where the action is

Google has set up a new base for its self-driving car project in America’s automotive heartland.

When a major car company wants to get serious about tech, it sets up shop in Silicon Valley. Conversely, when a major tech company wants to get serious about building cars, where does it go?

In the US, there’s really only one place: Detroit, where several of the world’s biggest car makers are still headquartered.

That’s just what Google has just done. In a recent publicly shared Google+ post, the Google Self-Driving Car Project account announced that it had decided to “lay down roots” in the Greater Detroit area.

The team is establishing a self-driving technology development centre in Novi, Michigan.

As the post points out, this puts it within easy reach of many of its current partners. That includes Fiat Chrysler, with which Google has agreed to make a small fleet of autonomous minivans.

Indeed, the post notes that “One of the first tasks will be to ready our self-driving Chrysler Pacifica hybrid minivans.”

Related: Best self-driving tech from the Geneva Motor Show

Naturally, being closer to the country’s car-making capital will grant Google access to the area’s “top talent in vehicle development and engineering,” so expect some major hires as it moves closer to a commercial self-driving product.

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As you can see from the above image, Google still has a way to go before it’s ready to commence its Detroit operations, but it will be “moving in throughout 2016.”

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