Auto rental giant Enterprise Rent-A-Car is the latest entrant in the autonomous game, partnering with Voyage, a self-driving startup, in a supplier agreement.
As part of the deal, Enterprise Rent-a-Car will lease a fleet of modified Chrysler Pacifica minivans to Voyage, which will equip them with its flagship Level 4 autonomous, VLS-128 lidar system, currently being tested in two retirement communities to transport limited mobility users. After service ends, it will strip off the hardware and return the vehicles to Enterprise Rent-a-Car.
Slow and Steady
At the moment, Enterprise Rent-a-Car does not plan to introduce self-driving fleet as part of its rental operations, with its chief strategy officer, Greg Stubblefield, stating “we’re a long way out before there’s a real impact.” Similar partnerships, such as Avis’ deal with Waymo and Hertz’s with Apple, have also advanced this year.
“Our partnership ensures that the Voyage team is able to focus on what they do best — developing autonomous technology and providing transportation services to community residents — without having to worry about acquiring and maintaining those vehicles,” said Brice Adamson, SVP at Enterprise Fleet Management.
Eventually, Voyage plans to introduce its service to a 160,000-person retirement community, The Villages, in Orlando, Fl.