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Avis Teams Up With Waymo On Self-Driving Car Program

26 June 2017

To help with their testing, Waymo has now joined up with an unlikely partner.

Avis Budget Group has made a deal to manage and maintain Waymo's fleet of self-driving cars. Waymo will own the vehicles and pay Avis for its service, but financial terms were not disclosed.

Avis Budget Group Inc. said Monday that it will provide fleet support and maintenance services for Waymo's program at its Avis and Budget vehicle rental locations.

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More broadly, the deal gives Avis - which operates the Avis and Budget rental auto business as well as Zipcar - a clear entry point into the emerging autonomous vehicle space.

For both companies, the move has clear upsides.

For the past year, Alphabet has been working with Chrysler to modify Pacifica Hybrid minivans and integrate Waymo's self-driving systems. Hence this Waymo-Avis deal. The company said it chose Avis for its experience quickly fixing and cleaning rental cars and for its presence across the USA and overseas, which can help Waymo expand its program to other cities.

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"With members of the public using our growing fleet of self-driving cars, our vehicles need standard maintenance and cleaning so they're ready for our riders at any time of the day or night", said John Krafcik, Waymo's CEO, said in a statement". Waymo is also collaborating with Lyft to bring self-driving cars into the mainstream.

Back in April, we reported on Waymo's plans to offer an autonomous ride-hailing service in Phoenix, Arizona. It will also handle checking, ordering and installing new parts for vehicles in the fleet.

The move also underscores the importance of autonomous driving technology for companies like Waymo. The company has been in a public skirmish with competitor Uber, which it sued over former employee Anthony Levandowski's alleged theft of Waymo tech secrets. The long-running case is still making its way through the courts, and Uber terminated Levandowski's employment earlier this year.

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Avis Teams Up With Waymo On Self-Driving Car Program