Alphabet Inc.’s Waymo has struck a deal with Avis Budget Group Inc. to manage its fleet of self-driving cars, as reported by Bloomberg.
The new deal is limited to Waymo’s vehicles in Phoenix, Arizona, where the company launched a pilot in April for people to take rides in their self-driving cars.
Waymo and Avis will work under a divide-and-conquer type agreement. Waymo will own the vehicles and pay Avis for its service in a non-exclusive arrangement that is set for multiple years. Avis will take care of cleaning, tire rotations, and other more rudimentary vehicle services while Waymo will remain in charge of tech like its lidar sensors.
The companies did not disclose financial terms or any long term goals about the new working relationship.
“One of the wonderful things about partnerships like this is that they are open,” Waymo CEO John Krafcik said.
The Bloomberg report pointed out that a potential boon for Alphabet is that Avis owns Zipcar, the Boston-based on-demand rental service with over 1 million members. That network of users could provide Waymo with a fertile ground of customers to try out its upcoming autonomous vehicle services.
Avis will also benefit as it now has the support of Alphabet, a player in the autonomous field that has a large Google-backed wallet to invest in emerging vehicular technologies.
“It’s coming our way. So it’s important for us to get involved now,” Avis Chief Executive Officer Larry De Shon said. “This just demonstrates that we can extend our business into fleet-management-as-a-service.”
The Waymo and Avis alliance is just the latest headline for the Alphabet company, which is establishing itself as a big mover and shaker in the self-driving industry. Waymo previously announced that it was developing Class 8 self-driving trucks in an attempt to fill the industry’s personnel shortages and crack down on safety issues.