Waymo, the self-driving car subsidiary of Google parent company Alphabet, Inc., has reached an agreement with Avis Budget Group, in order to “offer fleet support and maintenance services” to Waymo’s fleet of self-driving cars.
The agreement centers on Waymo’s “early rider” program, an already-underway trial of self-driving cars in the Phoenix, Arizona, area. The deal, the companies said, will cover “nterior and exterior cleaning, oil changes, tire rotations, and the checking, ordering and installation of automotive parts.”
Avis Budget Group is the parent company of both Avis Car Rental and Budget Truck Rental, as well as Payless Car Rental and Zipcar.
Explaining the deal
“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,” John Krafcik, chief executive officer of Waymo, said in a statement.
“Avis Budget Group is an ideal partner to provide fleet support and maintenance. With thousands of locations around the world, Avis Budget Group can help us bring our technology to more people, in more places.”
About the program
Waymo announced in April that it was launching the trial in the Phoenix area, meant to determine what users want from a self-driving car program. The program, which will ultimately include a fleet of 600 cars, uses Chrysler Pacifica plug-in hybrid minivans.
The trial is not completely driverless; each car has a “test driver” monitoring the rides at all times.
Those in Phoenix area interested in participating in the trial can sign up to do so here.
Other Waymo Partners
In the past, Waymo has partnered with Bosch, LG, Continental and other firms for technology and other services. The company also announced last week that it has hired Satish Jeyachandran, a longtime executive with Tesla Motors, as its new head of hardware.