Rental car agencies, Avis Budget Group Inc. and Hertz Global Holding Inc., are the next newcomers to join the self driving car brigade. Both rental agencies have been economically hurting since the creation of ride-sharing and the rise of ride-share companies such as Uber and Lyft. Last year, Hertz alone lost $491 million in revenue and speculators thought new tech companies would drive rental car companies out of business for good. However, both Avis and Hertz may have found a new direction to keep their businesses afloat, via autonomous technology.
According to The Detroit News, Avis has partnered with Alphabet Inc., the parent company of Google, to manage autonomous vehicles for Alphabet’s autonomous technology division, Waymo. Avis will be in charge of running 600 self driving Chrysler minivans for Waymo. Hertz, on the other hand, has found its niche by agreeing to lease luxury sports vehicles to Apple, who will then implement autonomous technology into the vehicles.
While these opportunities to partner with Alphabet and Apple are great for Avis and Hertz, the question remains: Why are tech giants looking to outsource to dying rental car agencies? Michael Millman, founder of Millman Research, states that, “some people thought they would be victims, but they’re the only companies that can handle fleets on a large scale.” These ongoing partnerships are making it more clear that tech companies are not looking to build, operate and maintain their own vehicles, but rather focus solely on the development of self driving technology.
The vision of self driving vehicle operations is beginning to unfold and become more clear. Large automakers will be responsible for manufacturing the vehicles, tech companies will create and implement autonomous technology into the vehicles, and companies such as Uber and Lyft will incorporate these self driving cars into their ride sharing business. Now, rental agencies can evidently fill in the missing gap as to who will be responsible for the maintenance and upkeep of the self driving cars.
Maintenance of these autonomous cars, includes everything from bearing depreciation costs, cleaning the interior and exterior, making sure the cars are fueled or charged, is a very expensive task. Thus far, Uber and Lyft drivers have been responsible for the maintenance of their own cars. Once drivers are removed from the picture, Avis and Hertz will become very useful because they will take responsibility of fulfilling all maintenance duties. The rental agencies also have the infrastructure to park the vehicles when they are not in use, which could save ride-sharing businesses a lot of money.
As the future with self driving vehicles approaches, more companies are looking to get a piece of the pie. When human drivers are no longer required for vehicles, transportation may not only become safer, but it appears that it will prove profitable for not just autonomous technology companies, but businesses such as Avis and Hertz as well.
Until autonomous car technology takes over, we still have to rely on human drivers and the added risk of car accidents that are caused by human error. If you have been in an auto accident or an accident of any kind, call The Michigan Law Firm, PLLC at 844.4MI.FIRM. for a free legal consultation.