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Ford to Turn Michigan Plant into “Center of Excellence” for Driverless Cars

Earlier this month, Ford Motor Co. announced that it would move its electric car production to Mexico and dedicate its Flat Rock, Michigan, plant to driverless car production.

The move is a reversal from an earlier announcement that its Flat Rock facility would focus on the assembly of electric vehicles, an auto segment that continues to struggle to find profitability in the current market.

Instead, Ford will ramp up its investment in the location from a reported $700 million to $900 million in an investment that will make Flat Rock the automaker’s new “center of excellence” for autonomous vehicles. The investment is expected to include the addition of around 850 new jobs in Michigan.

According to the Wall Street Journal, “Ford will target its driverless vehicles to commercial customers, such as construction companies and delivery firms, a market [Ford President of Global Markets Jim Farley] believes other auto makers and tech companies are overlooking.”

Ford is planning a full citywide test-case roll out of its autonomous vehicles at some point in 2018, according to Farley.

(Photo: WerbeFabrik / Pixabay)

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