Former Google vehicle project Waymo has signed a deal with Avis Budget Group to service and home a fleet of self-driving cars being tested in Phoenix, giving the rental vehicle firm a foothold in the fledgling market for autonomous transport.
The arrangement speeds up Waymo’s effort to commercialize its self-driving vehicle technology, which is starting a real-world pilot program after years of tests.
Avis Budget stated Monday that it would provide “fleet support and maintenance services” to the Waymo vehicles in Phoenix. Waymo is offering free rides to Phoenix guests in Chrysler Pacifica Plug-In Hybrid minivans that it installed with its autonomous vehicle innovation.
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The accord does not impact Waymo’s other cooperations, including a collaboration with ride-hailing app Lyft to test its self-driving automobiles.
The Avis Budget deal has relatively limited scope for now. It’s consisted to the trial fleet in Phoenix, but it could lead the way for wider collaboration.
Avis Budget stated it had agreed to “enhance” a few of its centers and to provide vehicle cleansing, maintenance and parking for the Waymo automobiles.
“With members of the public using our growing fleet of self-driving vehicles, our vehicles need standard maintenance and cleaning so they’re ready for our riders at any time of the day or night,” stated Waymo CEO John Krafcik. “Avis Budget Group is an ideal partner to offer fleet support and maintenance. With thousands of places around the world, Avis Budget Group can help us bring our technology to more individuals, in more places.”
Avis Budget CEO Larry De Shon stated the deal allows them to accelerate their knowledge and hands-on experience in a developing area.