NOVI – Goggle announced Wednesday that is Self-Driving Car Project will open a 53,000 square foot development center in Novi, following earlier announcements by Uber it would work with Toyota and General Motors with Lyft. The rush towards self-driving vehicles is accelerating.

John Krafcik, CEO of the project, announced the move in a Google+ posting. He said the Novi development center will serve as a hub that Google will use to work with a number of partners in the automotive industry

Google has been working on self-driving cars for more than six years. Last month, Google announced a partnership with Fiat Chrysler Automobiles to transform 100 2017 Chrysler Pacifica hybrid minivans into self-driving vehicles.

“For the past few years, members of our team have been working from the Greater Detroit area. Now it’s time to lay down roots: we’re establishing a self-driving technology development center in Novi,” Krafcik said in his Google+ post.

Krafcik’s post comes amid a tidal wave of news in recent months related to partnerships between automakers, Silicon Valley technology companies and ride-sharing companies.

All three Detroit automakers this month have announced partnerships or deals with Silicon Valley companies, aimed either at developing autonomous vehicles or ride-sharing. 

But the buying public is not as excited about a self-driving vehicle future. In a survey done by the University of Michigan, nearly half of Americans surveyed by the University of Michigan said they’d prefer to retain full control while driving.

Some 46 percent of the 618 people surveyed want to drive their own cars, while nearly 39 percent prefer a partially self-driving vehicle with occasional control by the driver. Just under 16 percent would rather ride in a completely self-driving vehicle.

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