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Google preps self-driving car facility near Detroit as Chrysler partnership ramps up

Google on Wednesday announced plans to launch a "self-driving technology development center" in Novi, Mich., just outside the home of the American auto industry in Detroit.

The facility will span 53,000 square feet, and allow easier collaboration with industry partners — as well as recruiting more talent in the sector, Google said. The move-in process should span the rest of 2016.

Google didn't elaborate much farther on what the center will handle, but did say that one of its first objectives will be preparing self-driving Pacifica minivans in partnership with Fiat Chrysler.

Many corporations across the auto and high-tech industies are beginning to partner on self-driving vehicles, from Google through to ridesharing services like Uber and Lyft. Indeed, Apple's $1 billion investment in Didi Chuxing could be connected, since ridesharing firms are ultimately expected to cut out human drivers, or even become a primary source of transportation.

Earlier this month a report claimed that Apple was eyeing 800,000 square feet in California for self-driving car work. The company is expected to ship some form of electric car in 2019 or 2020, though the first model may or may not be autonomous. Apple is allegedly developing charging infrastructure in preparation.