Published: Tue, June 27, 2017
Tech | By Constance Martin

Avis teams up with Waymo on self-driving car program

Avis teams up with Waymo on self-driving car program

Alphabet has signed an agreement with Avis Budget Group to manage Waymo's fleet of self-driving minivans in Phoenix, the latest in a wave of partnerships between companies seeking their footing in the market for self-driving cars.

Waymo and Avis said they will launch their partnership in Phoenix, Arizona, where Waymo is allowing selected members of the public take rides in self-driving cars, including modified Chrysler Pacifica minivans built by Fiat Chrysler Automobiles NV.

Avis will begin handling the maintenance duties for Waymo's fleet of self-driving Chrysler Pacifica minivans in the Phoenix, Arizona area later this year, the rental auto agency announced on Monday.

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Waymo recently announced plans to increase the number of self-driving Chrysler Pacifica mini-vans in its fleet to 600, and last month, announced it had reached an agreement with ride-share firm Lyft to explore self-driving vehicle technology together. On Waymo's end, the Alphabet company now can outsource the day-to-day maintenance on its self-driving fleet and focus purely on development and research.

"Not only does this partnership enable us to leverage our current capabilities and assets, but it also allows us to accelerate our knowledge and hands-on experience in an emerging area", said Avis Budget chief executive Larry De Shon. Talking about this, Waymo's CEO John Krafcik said, 'With thousands of locations around the world, Avis Budget Group can help us bring our technology to more people, in more places'. The Alphabet company has today revealed an agreement that will see Avis Car Rental managing those autonomous vehicles. Waymo will own the vehicles and pay Avis for its service, but financial terms were not disclosed.

The move also underscores the importance of autonomous driving technology for companies like Waymo.

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