Waymo inches closer to driverless auto launch with fix deal

Waymo Progresses to Totally Driverless Cars, Trucks

Google is partnering with AutoNation, the country's largest auto dealership chain, in its push to produce self-driving cars for wide use. Waymo is Google's automated vehicle technology wing.

Waymo has partnered up with AutoNation, an automative retailer, to provide repairs and maintenance for the company's fleet of self-driving cars.

Google's spin-off company Waymo has hired AutoNation, America's largest auto retailer, to maintain and fix its fleeting of driverless vehicles around the country, AutoNation said in a press release. "AutoNation and Waymo are like minded in our joint mission to keep people safe whenever they are in a vehicle".

Waymo, hatched from a Google project started eight years ago, showed off its progress Monday during a rare peek at a closely guarded testing facility located 120 miles (193 kilometers) southeast of San Francisco.

GM plans to test its own self-driving vehicle fleet after purchasing Waymo competitor Cruise Automation.

In addition to GM, Ford Motor Company has announced a series of innovation initiatives that will significantly expand the company's electric and autonomous vehicle offerings; other big technology companies, including Apple and ride-hailing service Uber, are developing their own technology.

"AutoNation's service and maintenance is longer-term focused, leveraging our technical and cosmetic expertise with the goal of maximizing the useful life and appearance of Waymo's vehicles", CEO Mike Jackson said in prepared remarks. The dealership chain, he said, has maintained more than 40 million vehicles.

Waymo is now in a legal tussle with Uber, with the former alleging that one of its ex-managers stole the company's trade secrets and took them along when he joined Uber in 2016.

AutoNation, based in Fort Lauderdale, Fla., runs about 360 dealerships in the United States. The trial in that high-profile case is scheduled to begin in early December.

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