Car rental company Car Rentals has raised $1.2 billion to build a fleet of autonomous vehicles that it will eventually rent out to customers, in what it says is the first of its kind.
The company has partnered with Uber, Lyft and other car-rental services, and said the new vehicles will be able to operate autonomously with the same level of driver assistance as the drivers who actually drive the vehicles.
The car rental service is now seeking investors for the project, which has the backing of the New York City Department of Transportation, which said the cars will be “designed for long-term, high-frequency, autonomous operation and to provide the flexibility to meet customer needs.”
Car Rentals is based in Chicago, and the company has an extensive network of customers.
It said the first fleet of the vehicles is scheduled to go live in 2020, but that it plans to eventually launch the vehicles in more cities, such as Las Vegas, Seattle and Atlanta.
The vehicles will also be able get rides from the likes of Uber, where the vehicles are now being tested.
“We’re taking a big risk by opening up this business model,” Car Renters CEO David Mone said in a statement.
“We are betting on technology that is going to be used by billions of people around the world, but we’re betting that our customers are going to use the cars that we are building.”
Car rental company’s new cars will have full driver assistance features The new cars that the company is building will feature a variety of features that will allow them to better accommodate drivers who are older and more experienced, and also provide some extra safety features.
The company said that the cars would be able drive autonomously for a maximum of 24 hours and operate autonomly for at least one hour per day.
Car rental companies are already experimenting with autonomous vehicles in order to help them meet growing demand for rides, such, Uber’s self-driving car program, which recently saw more than 7,000 drivers join.
And car rental companies have been looking to offer self-service options, which is a move away from the traditional rental model.