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Toyota's data-harvesting startup, Toyota Connected, has inked a multiyear deal with Avis Budget Group that will supply 10,000 connected vehicles to Avis Car Rental.
Avis will experiment with a fleet of 5,000 keyless cars this year in Kansas City, Mo., to see if key fobs can be rendered obsolete.
Avis launched its first fleet of cars that are fully connected to the internet, other vehicles, and to the car rental company via wireless technology in a bid to enhance fleet management.
Drivers in need of wheels are being forced to pay up as a thin offering of rental cars becomes available again in Houston, the vehicle-dependent city still reeling after Hurricane Harvey.
The immediate challenge is a declining new-vehicle market. Long term, the companies face disruptions to their business model from sharing services and autonomous technology.
Old-school rental-car agencies may have a road map to prosper in the age of self-driving taxis after all.
Apple is leasing a small fleet of cars from Hertz to test self-driving technology, an agreement that echoes a larger deal between competitors Waymo and Avis.
Waymo has reached an agreement for Avis to manage its fleet of autonomous vehicles. It's the first such deal in a field that's still fledgling but exploding with partnerships.
Nissan's decision to boost deliveries to fleet companies carries risk, both to the Japanese automaker and to struggling rental-car giants Hertz and Avis Budget Group.
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