Avis to manage Waymo's self-driving cars

Avis Stock Surging on Alphabet Waymo Deal

According to first reports from Bloomberg, Avis will service and store Waymo's stock of self-driving Chrysler Pacifica minivans in Phoenix, where Alphabet has been testing a driverless ride-hailing service since April. Financial terms have not been announced, but the non-exclusive agreement is set to last multiple years. Avis has much to offer in the future beyond just vehicle parking and maintenance, as well.

De Shon said Avis will retrofit select facilities in the Phoenix area to accommodate Waymo's minivans, including adding tailored tents to protect them from rain, and doesn't plan to buy additional real estate.

It's an agreement that makes sense for both parties as Waymo inks a deal with a company that already has a network of traditional cars and customers. Uber and Waymo are locked in a massive legal battle stemming from Uber allegedly stealing Waymo trade secrets when a key engineer defected to Uber a few years ago.

Waymo is the autonomous vehicle technology subsidiary of Alphabet, the company formerly known as Google. Still, the deal highlights the way that rental companies, with their nationwide scale and experience maintaining vehicle fleets, could become key players in the spread of self-driving technology. "With thousands of locations around the world, Avis Budget Group can help us bring our technology to more people, in more places".

Alphabet's self-driving auto company, Waymo, will rely on Avis to service and store its fleet of Chrysler self-driving vans, the companies said in a statement.




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

"Avis Budget Group is an ideal partner to provide fleet support and maintenance", said John Krafcik, CEO of Waymo, in a statement. As of 11:50 a.m. ET, Avis shares were still up 10 percent to $26.63.

The automotive industry seems similar to the Wild West now: Automotive manufacturers, technology companies, parts suppliers, and various other product and service providers are competing to land strategic partnerships as the industry accelerates toward a driverless vehicle future.

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.

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