Deal between Apple and KIA could change the face of West Georgia town

WEST POINT, Ga. — A West Georgia community waits to see if it will help revolutionize the auto industry.

There’s a chance Apple and the Troupe County KIA plant may partner to create 100,000 self-driving cars a year starting in 2024.

The current KIA plant has already created a massive economic industry in the area, but the new deal would be a game changer.

Amanda and Brian Schroeder moved to West Point, Georgia before the KIA plant was built.

“It was a ghost town,” Amanda Schroeder said.

They told Channel 2′s Dave Huddleston that West Point is now a nice little town.

But if Apple and KIA partner to create self-driving cars at the plant, West Point and the surrounding area would become a city.

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“We have two kids. Maybe we’ll get some museums, you know, something fun to do. Yeah, it would just explode,” Amanda Schroeder said.

No one at the KIA plant or Apple corporation are talking, but West Point Mayor Steve Tramell told Huddleston that an announcement is expected soon.

“Once it happens, you’ll have to come back because I’ll be dancing down the center of Main Street,” Tramell said. “That means we’ll have another big growth cycle. I expect if this does happen, a lot of people will be down here looking for office space, retail space. It’s going to be really good for our community.”

Eric Tannenblatt is a global policy expert and specializes in self-driving vehicles.

He said if the Apple-KIA partnership comes true, it would be a game changer for the Georgia economy.

“There’s predictions that in the next 5 to 10 years, you’ll see autonomous vehicles in the main, and traveling on streets. I personally believe we’ll see autonomous fleets,” Tannenblatt said.

That is if people like Heather Hoats have confidence that self-driving cars are safe.

“We have plenty of remote roads, two lane roads to really test the reception of things,” Hoats said.

An official announcement on the Apple-KIA deal is expected on February 17.