Waymo turns to AutoNation to service its self-driving fleet
It's not the minivan part that's different than usual.
Andrew KrokReviews Editor / Cars
Cars are Andrew's jam, as is strawberry. After spending years as a regular ol' car fanatic, he started working his way through the echelons of the automotive industry, starting out as social-media director of a small European-focused garage outside of Chicago. From there, he moved to the editorial side, penning several written features in Total 911 Magazine before becoming a full-time auto writer, first for a local Chicago outlet and then for CNET Cars.
The largest automotive retailer in the world will soon help service a fleet of self-driving
Waymo announced Tuesday that it has entered a partnership with AutoNation, the country's largest automotive retailer. AutoNation will be in charge of maintaining and repairing Waymo's fleet of self-driving Chrysler Pacifica minivans. It will also extend services to any additional brands Waymo brings under its umbrella.
AutoNation operates 361 different dealerships across the country, and together, the group has sold more than 11 million new vehicles. Something tells me it'll be able to pop dents out of a minivan's rear bumper and make sure there isn't bird, um, detritus on the sensors.
AutoNation isn't the only group Waymo is using to help manage its fleet. The Google spinoff also inked a multi-year deal with Avis Budget Group back in June for similar services, including fleet maintenance and support. Neither partnership is exclusive, so both companies will work to keep Waymo's fleet up and running, with Waymo still remaining in charge of the sensors and all the other technology it added to the vans.
Dealing with a fleet of self-driving cars will be a bit different than a standard group of cars. Ideally, these vehicles will flit about almost constantly, hopping from user to user, which introduces a level of wear and tear not seen on most vehicles. Keeping these vans on the road will require more effort than your average Pacifica, so Waymo could probably use all the help it can find.
Correction, 8:19 pm Eastern: This article originally referred to Waymo's partner as AutoPacific. Waymo signed a deal with AutoNation, not AutoPacific, which is an industry research firm.
Waymo's autonomous Pacifica cruising through Castle