Google taps Roush Industries to build self-driving car prototype

Article by Andrew Christian, on January 23, 2015

Roush Industries Inc., an engineering and specialty manufacturing company, has been tapped to assemble a fleet of 100 prototypes of Google Inc.’s two-seater self-driving electric cars. Chris Urmson, director of Google’s self-driving cars program, remarked at the Automotive News World Congress in Detroit that the tech giant did not contract with a carmaker for the project, although the production version of the self-driving car would involve an automaker.

Roush, known for its custom Ford Mustang models, has leased additional space at 28220 Plymouth Road in Livonia and refurbished it for the project, Maureen Crowley, director of corporate communications, told Crain’s Detroit Business.

According to Crowley, Roush has hired more people in supply chain support and assembly. In July 2013, the Michigan Strategic Fund awarded Roush a $1 million performance-based grant to expand space at a number of sites in suburban Detroit.

Cromwell said that Roush is “piggybacking” two more assembly programs, leveraging the learning it could get from the Google project. She, however, declined to talks about the additional projects, citing non-disclosure agreements.

Google has made sure that the project remains close to the public with non-disclosure agreements. Google recently announced that Continental Automotive Systems and Robert Bosch LLC – which North American automotive headquarters are located in suburban Detroit -- would be members of its supplier network for the self-driving car.

Continental and Bosch have been developing self-driving car technologies and prototypes. Bosch spokeswoman Linda Beckmeyer confirmed in an e-mail to Automotive News that the German supplier will be providing the electric powertrain system and long-range radar sensor for the Google car.

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