Apple is cooperating with the popular rental car agency Hertz for the deployment and management of its self-driving vehicle tech, with the rental agency providing the tech giant with a fleet of cars to use for testing, according to recent reports.
This news is a bit of an echo of the much earlier news that Waymo/Google/Alphabet and the car rental agency Avis are cooperating in a similar fashion.
With regard to the deal between Apple and Hertz, the fleet is composed of Lexus RX450h SUVs provided by the company’s Donlen fleet-management unit, going by documents that have now been released by the California Department of Motor Vehicles.
Bloomberg provides more: “When Apple received its license to test three autonomous vehicles from the state’s DMV in April, the documents listed Donlen as the lessor and Apple as the lessee.
“An Apple spokesman declined to comment, while a representative for Hertz didn’t immediately respond to a request for comment on Monday. A half-dozen vehicles have been testing Apple’s autonomous technology on public roads in and around the San Francisco Bay area for at least a year, a person familiar with Apple’s project told Bloomberg earlier this year.
“Hertz stock had dropped by more than 75% over the past 12 months amid falling revenue and profit, and investor concern about the role rental companies will play in an automotive industry where self-driving cars and ride-hailing play a greater role. The shares pared some of those losses after Alphabet’s Waymo unit tapped Avis to manage its fleet of autonomous vehicles in Phoenix. Hertz surged on news of the agreement with Apple, bringing its intraday gain to as much as 18 percent, the biggest rise since July 2015.”
That is no doubt part of the reason that Hertz agreed to the deal. Though, who knows how long the bump will last.
For more information on the state of Apple’s apparently very volatile self-driving vehicle program, see: “Apple Granted Self-Driving Vehicle Testing Permit In California.”
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