Waymo has partnered up with AutoNation, an automative retailer, to provide repairs and maintenance for the company’s fleet of self-driving cars. We’ve heard rumbles about such a deal before, but now it is official. The deal will involve AutoNation USA stores, franchised stores, and other locations providing both long-term maintenance for Waymo’s fleet and any repairs they need as troubles arise.
Self-driving cars will need upkeeping to stay operational, of course, one key component in maintaining a fleet of autonomous cars. At the moment, Waymo has a bunch Chrysler Pacifica hybrids that have been modified for autonomous functionality, and it plans to add more brands in the future.
AutoNation will be equipped to perform complex repairs, according to the company, as well as any cosmetic work that may need done. This represents a key component in any larger overall plans to launch a service or multiple services involving self-driving cars. One could imagine, for example, that a car could bring itself to the nearest servicing station if an issue is detected.
While a typical consumer car may only last 200k or so miles before being carted off to a junkyard, self-driving cars will be different. Regular and precise maintenance will enable these cars to clock hundreds of thousands of miles, something that likely won’t take too long in places where the vehicle may be put to use both day and night.
Talking about the new deal, AutoNation’s CEO Mike Jackson said, “AutoNation remains uniquely positioned to lead our industry towards the future of mobility, due to our brand, exceptional service and maintenance capabilities, and commitment to innovation. AutoNation and Waymo are like minded in our joint mission to keep people safe whenever they are in a vehicle.”