NAVYA, a French tech company, will open an autonomous vehicle assembly facility in Saline this fall. This announcement comes on the heels of NAVYA's collaboration with the University of Michigan to bring driverless buses to campus this school year.
NAVYA has a close relationship with M-City, the University's driverless vehicle testing ground. Henri Caron, NAVYA's VP of Sales, says this is the reason southeast Michigan was chosen as the location for the plant.
"We've decided, because of strong support from M-City, to settle down our assembly plant in Michigan nearby," Caron said at a press conference last month. At the time of the press conference, the exact location of the plant was unknown.
The University of Michigan plans to introduce two driverless buses on campus in the fall. They will travel on a two-mile circuit in a relatively secluded part of campus. The company and M-City will collect data based on rider feedback before expanding the program.
NAVYA has invested $5.5 million into the Michigan assembly plant, and the hiring process is underway. At the press conference, Caron said NAVYA is the only company authorized by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration to operate on both private and public roads.
Their driverless busses operate in Australia, Singapore, Japan, and in several European countries.