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Is It A Game Changer?

26 June 2017 by lberuti

Waymo, which is owned by Alphabet Inc., is operating a fleet of autonomous vehicles. Its early rider program is a public trial of its self-driving cars in Phoenix, Arizona. It offers a growing fleet – it should reach 600 vehicles in the near future – of Chrysler Pacifica minivans to volunteer members of the public, willing to use its ride-hailing service. Waymo announced today that it has reached an agreement with CAR ( Avis Budget Group Inc ) to service and store its vehicles. CAR will take care of interior and exterior cleaning, oil changes, tire rotation, spare parts order and maintenance. It will make sure that Waymo’s cars are “ready for (their) riders at any time of the day or the night”. This partnership is the first major one involving oversight of a driverless car fleet. It could help the technology spread, and it could also provide struggling car rental companies, which are trying to reinvent themselves in an ever more competitive environment, with a lifeline. Since the last roll in March, CAR’s 5-year risk premium had been on a widening trend, roughly going from 400bps to 600bps. Today’s 66bps tightening– it closed at 494bps – seems to have broken it. There might be some light at the end of the tunnel for CAR’s credit investors after all.