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Avis Budget Group to service Waymo's self-driving fleet

Avis Budget Group to service Waymo's self-driving fleet

Avis Budget Group, the company that owns the Avis, Budget and Zipcar brands, has signed a deal to help maintain Alphabet's self-driving auto fleet in Phoenix, Ariz., which began serving members of the public in April.

The partnership aims to support Waymo's fleet and its early rider program, which has a public trial in Phoenix.

Waymo is hoping that the agreement with Avis Budget Group Inc. will allow its fleet of self-driving vehicles to remain ready for riders at any time. Vehicle maintenance will basic services like cleaning, oil changes, tire rotations, and ordering and installing parts. 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 pilot programme in Arizona has been picking up passengers and dropping them off as part of an experiment tinkering with the future of transportation.

Avis Budget Group Inc. handling the care of Waymo's fleet comes after the latter announced plans for this fleet. Apple CEO Tim Cook last week confirmed those efforts, explaining in an interview with Bloomberg that autonomous driving is "probably one of the most hard AI projects to work on".

Under the multi-year agreement, Avis Budget Group will enhance selected rental facilities to offer automotive services and secure parking for Waymo's fleet.

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The relationship between the companies provides insight on an emerging ecosystem for self-driving cars.

Technology stocks were the lone industry sector in the red today, with shares of tech companies in the S&P 500 sinking about 0.4% this afternoon.

A Bloomberg article notes that Avis will not be responsible for managing LIDAR sensors and other specialized components, with Waymo ultimately still maintaining ownership of the vehicles.

Because the partnership is nonexclusive, Avis will be free to partner with other self-driving manufacturers, and Alphabet will be free to work with other rental services.


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