Avis teams up with Waymo on self-driving car program

Alphabet Partners With Avis To Manage Self Driving Car Fleet

Apple working with Hertz to test self-driving technology: Bloomberg

USA vehicle rental giant Avis Budget on Monday (June 26) announced it will team up with Waymo on the self-driving cars being tested on Arizona roads.

Officials highlighted this partnership will allow Avis Budget Group to service Waymo's growing number of cars on the road, ensuring Waymo's self-driving vehicles are ready for riders around the clock.

Avis has a system of cleaning and maintaining cars, including basic services like oil changes and tire changes, that it can provide for self-driving vehicles.

Alphabet and Avis Budget will work together on self-driving cars, the companies announced on Monday.

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The stock price for Avis Budget Group, the parent company of companies including Avis and Zipcar, jumped to a high of $29.14 per share on news of the partnership. Waymo is building a fleet of 600 Chrysler Pacifica minivans, and the company is already running a pilot program for select customers in Phoenix. In exchange, Waymo would gain access to data about how consumers use autonomous vehicles. Avis is smart to stake out an early claim, even in an non-exclusive arrangement that likely won't drive significant revenue off the bat, just to help demonstrate where it might fit in once autonomy becomes a more widespread part of the transit industry.

Scott Deaver, chief marketing officer at Avis Budget, said that his company was open to deepening its relationship with Waymo but that it was too soon to discuss specifics.

Waymo will own the autonomous test fleet and will pay Avis to look after the vehicles.

Auto stock was up 10% as of Monday afternoon, but is down 26% year-to-date. Avis will retrofit certain facilities in Phoenix with tents to shelter the cars from the elements, but the rental company will not purchase any new land. Keeping up with maintenance will be a full-time job in itself, thus Waymo is smart to outsource that part of its fleet support. As of 11:50 a.m. ET, Avis shares were still up 10 percent to $26.63. Within the past few years, the field has seen heavy investment for software and cars by companies ranging from Apple to Nvidia.

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