Enterprise Holdings, owner of incredibly successful car rental firm, Enterprise Rent-a-Car, has this week announced their plans to enter the autonomous driving market. Penning a deal with technology startup, Voyage, the firms will together manage a fleet of autonomous vehicles, joining Google, Uber and other big brands in the race to launch a safe, reliable driverless car product.
As part of the partnership, Enterprise will be in charge of the maintenance of the vehicles. At present, the venture involves 12 driverless cars. However, the firms have not made it clear whether or not they will be making additions to the fleet.
Working in a very separate way to other driverless car businesses, Voyage purchases off-the-shelf cameras and sensors and focuses on the software.
“Enterprise is one of those places that we plug in,” said Oliver Cameron, Voyage’s chief executive officer. “Now we can have real fleet operations.”
Having held talks with many other brands about a self-driving collaboration, Enterprise has previously been rumoured to have been working with Waymo, Alphabet Inc and General Motors.
“Those companies don’t have expertise in the arena” Enterprise said. “That’s what we do every day.”
Coming to America
Initially, Voyage want to launch a commercial self-driving ride-hailing service in Florida, with many suggesting that Enterprise will manage that fleet. Having recently made some huge acquisitions in America, could partnering with Voyage simply be another example of this?
While seeming to get involved in other businesses self-driving projects, it’s very likely that Enterprise will build self-driving vehicles into their own operation. With self-driving vehicles boasting a huge threat to car rental companies, firms like Enterprise really have no choice but to get involved. With driverless cars worth $25billion in 2017 alone, in order to succeed in this forever-changing market, brands like Enterprise will have to get on board with new technologies.