Apple to partner with rental car company Hertz on small fleet of self-driving vehicles - r...

Posted:
in Future Apple Hardware edited June 2017
Apple's in-house self-driving vehicle technology will reportedly hit the road in a limited partnership with rental car provider Hertz, giving Apple the ability to put its technology to the test and expand its presence on the streets in a highly public way.




The alleged partnership in the works was first revealed by Bloomberg on Monday. The news came just hours after Google's parent company Alphabet revealed it will partner with rental car company Avis for its own self-driving fleet.

Apple will reportedly lease a "small fleet of cars" from Hertz to test its self-driving technology. Specifically, Apple is said to be testing Lexus RX450h SUV models leased from Donlen, a Hertz-owned fleet management company.

The partnership could prove to be a major step forward for "Project Titan," as until now only about a half-dozen Apple autonomous vehicles have been tested on public roads.

Later Monday afternoon, CNBC chimed in with its own report, specifically claiming that Apple is leasing six cars from Hertz's Donlen. In all, that would double the number of cars Apple actually has on the road, to a still relatively small dozen total autonomous vehicles on public roads.




It's unclear whether the partnership will simply allow Apple to test the waters with more cars on the road, or whether and when the vehicles will be available for rent by Hertz customers.

Regulatory requirements for self-driving vehicles have forced Apple's hand, prompting the company to file for a permit for its technology with California's Department of Motor Vehicles earlier this year. The process has led to more details about the efforts, known internally as "Project Titan," than Apple usually reveals about upcoming products and services.

Still unknown is whether Apple plans to build its own car, or simply make the brains behind a self-driving platform.
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Comments

  • Reply 1 of 34
    this is a bit confusing.  I can't tell whether the Hertz thing is just apple renting a few cars to test Autonomous driving on (internally), or if these vehicles will be in the Hertz fleet for other customers to try out.  There's no indication of what this means, except the first sentence ends with "giving Apple the ability to put its technology to the test in a highly public way."  That would maybe imply that these would be public vehicles?


    irelandMetriacanthosaurus
  • Reply 2 of 34
    gatorguygatorguy Posts: 20,286member
    I've no idea why the Lexus RX450's seem to be the choice du jour for techs testing their autonomous systems. Perhaps there's already some stock hardware configuration that makes it relatively plug-n-play, bring your own software?  
  • Reply 3 of 34
    nhughesnhughes Posts: 750editor
    aspenboy1 said:
    this is a bit confusing.  I can't tell whether the Hertz thing is just apple renting a few cars to test Autonomous driving on (internally), or if these vehicles will be in the Hertz fleet for other customers to try out.  There's no indication of what this means, except the first sentence ends with "giving Apple the ability to put its technology to the test in a highly public way."  That would maybe imply that these would be public vehicles?


    They'll be on public roads, whether or not we can rent them.
    bshank
  • Reply 4 of 34
    From the linked article it appears that the fact that Apple leased 3 SUVs from Hertz caused the Hertz stock to surge.  That seems like irrational wishful thinking to me.  There is no evidence or suggestion of any strategic partnership whereby rentals from Hertz would be self-driving and/or powered by Apple tech.
    SpamSandwich
  • Reply 5 of 34
    glynhglynh Posts: 131member
    There has to be something of value in the Hertz relationship for Apple to partner with them at this stage and risk information being released. I mean its not as if Apple couldn't afford a small fleet of its own Lexus RX450's...
    retrogustololliver
  • Reply 6 of 34
    lkrupplkrupp Posts: 6,799member
    So if a self-driving Herz vehicle and a self-driving Avis vehicle have a crash, who gets sued? Apple or Google? <s>
  • Reply 7 of 34
    gatorguygatorguy Posts: 20,286member
    From the linked article it appears that the fact that Apple leased 3 SUVs from Hertz caused the Hertz stock to surge.  That seems like irrational wishful thinking to me.  There is no evidence or suggestion of any strategic partnership whereby rentals from Hertz would be self-driving and/or powered by Apple tech.
    A few minutes ago it was reported that the Apple Hertz deal will be double that: 6 cars. 
    http://www.cnbc.com/2017/06/26/hertz-shares-soar-after-report-apple-working-to-manage-small-autonomous-fleet.html
    Gotta learn to walk before you drive so it absolutely makes sense for Apple to proceed cautiously and deliberately. 

    I suspect that Hertz is behind the news (but not without Apple's blessing), needing to answer the Avis announcement from earlier in the day. Both Hertz and Avis stock have suffered badly in recent years, but Avis got a very nice bump from their announcement, and Hertz stockholders should be a bit happier today as well as long as they cash in quickly. 
    edited June 2017 patchythepirate
  • Reply 8 of 34
    Apple doesn't need to lease cars from anyone. They have enough money to purchase an entire fleet if they wanted and keep things secret. There has to be more to it.

    Maybe Apple is going to install some unobtrusive self driving tech in Hertz rental cars. Not to give them autonomous abilities, but simply to gather data. Thousands of cars being driven by regular people would provide a wealth of information. And Hertz, by allowing this into their vehicles, might get early access to whatever Apple is planning to release. 
    StrangeDayslolliver
  • Reply 9 of 34
    holyoneholyone Posts: 383member
    It be great if allegations weren't presented as breaking news, that red tag got me all wide eyed and excited that's some monumental shit just got officially announced, but alas another rumor,further confusing an already confused issue
    randominternetpersonStrangeDays
  • Reply 10 of 34
    nhughesnhughes Posts: 750editor
    holyone said:
    It be great if allegations weren't presented as breaking news, that red tag got me all wide eyed and excited that's some monumental shit just got officially announced, but alas another rumor,further confusing an already confused issue
    You must be new here. "News and rumors since 1997."
    lolliver
  • Reply 11 of 34
    gatorguygatorguy Posts: 20,286member
    Apple doesn't need to lease cars from anyone. They have enough money to purchase an entire fleet if they wanted and keep things secret. There has to be more to it.

    Maybe Apple is going to install some unobtrusive self driving tech in Hertz rental cars. Not to give them autonomous abilities, but simply to gather data. Thousands of cars being driven by regular people would provide a wealth of information. And Hertz, by allowing this into their vehicles, might get early access to whatever Apple is planning to release. 
    They can't keep things secret. Legal and regulatory requirements including mandatory testing permits don't permit the secrecy you might think you'd like there to be.

    TBH doing everything "in secret" is just the opposite of what you should want. If/When Apple's automotive technologies come to a vehicle near you it should be with the assurance that every system was thoroughly tested, no "bugs and failures and incidents"  hidden from the public who will be on the road right alongside them. There should be zero doubt the hardware and the software is 100% ready for the road and certified as such by regulators with consistent testing procedures, not special rules for a particular company.  

    Safety should trump secrecy and even profit. 
  • Reply 12 of 34
    gatorguygatorguy Posts: 20,286member
    glynh said:
    There has to be something of value in the Hertz relationship for Apple to partner with them at this stage and risk information being released.
    Hertz maintaining the mechanical systems for them? 
    edited June 2017
  • Reply 13 of 34
    rogifan_newrogifan_new Posts: 3,827member
    Good lord the media needs to calm down. It's 6 vehicles. And Apple is leasing from Hertz. Hertz isn't managing a fleet of vehicles for actual rollout. Now if the news was that Apple is partnering with Lexus...well that would be a whole different story.
    randominternetperson
  • Reply 14 of 34
    tmaytmay Posts: 3,567member
    gatorguy said:
    From the linked article it appears that the fact that Apple leased 3 SUVs from Hertz caused the Hertz stock to surge.  That seems like irrational wishful thinking to me.  There is no evidence or suggestion of any strategic partnership whereby rentals from Hertz would be self-driving and/or powered by Apple tech.
    A few minutes ago it was reported that the Apple Hertz deal will be double that: 6 cars. 
    http://www.cnbc.com/2017/06/26/hertz-shares-soar-after-report-apple-working-to-manage-small-autonomous-fleet.html
    Gotta learn to walk before you drive so it absolutely makes sense for Apple to proceed cautiously and deliberately. 

    I suspect that Hertz is behind the news (but not without Apple's blessing), needing to answer the Avis announcement from earlier in the day. Both Hertz and Avis stock have suffered badly in recent years, but Avis got a very nice bump from their announcement, and Hertz stockholders should be a bit happier today as well as long as they cash in quickly. 
    The Avis announcement is wrt being hubs for fleet maintenance by Waymo's autonomous vehicles, for anyone who hasn't seen that.
  • Reply 15 of 34
    rogifan_newrogifan_new Posts: 3,827member
    From the linked article it appears that the fact that Apple leased 3 SUVs from Hertz caused the Hertz stock to surge.  That seems like irrational wishful thinking to me.  There is no evidence or suggestion of any strategic partnership whereby rentals from Hertz would be self-driving and/or powered by Apple tech.
    Exactly. And where is the evidence that any company has tech that is essentially plug and play? I still think right now Apple is perfect the software but the end goal will be an Apple vehicle. Most likely not for individual consumer purchase but for ride sharing. And if many, many years down the road this really takes off perhaps Apple will get in the direct to consumer business.
  • Reply 16 of 34
    tmaytmay Posts: 3,567member
    gatorguy said:
    From the linked article it appears that the fact that Apple leased 3 SUVs from Hertz caused the Hertz stock to surge.  That seems like irrational wishful thinking to me.  There is no evidence or suggestion of any strategic partnership whereby rentals from Hertz would be self-driving and/or powered by Apple tech.
    A few minutes ago it was reported that the Apple Hertz deal will be double that: 6 cars. 
    http://www.cnbc.com/2017/06/26/hertz-shares-soar-after-report-apple-working-to-manage-small-autonomous-fleet.html
    Gotta learn to walk before you drive so it absolutely makes sense for Apple to proceed cautiously and deliberately. 

    I suspect that Hertz is behind the news (but not without Apple's blessing), needing to answer the Avis announcement from earlier in the day. Both Hertz and Avis stock have suffered badly in recent years, but Avis got a very nice bump from their announcement, and Hertz stockholders should be a bit happier today as well as long as they cash in quickly. 
    It would have been even better news if Apple was going to lease the Lexmark's and use them for delivery of food items to the Spaceship from local Cafe's, or as drone launch motherships distributing medical marijuana throughout Silicon Valley. Kidding, kidding...
  • Reply 17 of 34
    benz917benz917 Posts: 7member
    Strange that they would target Lexus as Lexus/Toyota has been a major holdout on CarPlay...
  • Reply 18 of 34
    gatorguy said:
    Apple doesn't need to lease cars from anyone. They have enough money to purchase an entire fleet if they wanted and keep things secret. There has to be more to it.

    Maybe Apple is going to install some unobtrusive self driving tech in Hertz rental cars. Not to give them autonomous abilities, but simply to gather data. Thousands of cars being driven by regular people would provide a wealth of information. And Hertz, by allowing this into their vehicles, might get early access to whatever Apple is planning to release. 
    They can't keep things secret. Legal and regulatory requirements including mandatory testing permits don't permit the secrecy you might think you'd like there to be.

    TBH doing everything "in secret" is just the opposite of what you should want. If/When Apple's automotive technologies come to a vehicle near you it should be with the assurance that every system was thoroughly tested, no "bugs and failures and incidents"  hidden from the public who will be on the road right alongside them. There should be zero doubt the hardware and the software is 100% ready for the road and certified as such by regulators with consistent testing procedures, not special rules for a particular company.  

    Safety should trump secrecy and even profit. 

    Thats a lot of typing to A) completely miss my point, B) tell me something I already know and C) take a dig at Apple by implying they'd put secrecy or profit before safety. 

    Since Apple apparently can't keep things secret due to regulatory filings, then perhaps you can explain to us EXACTLY what Apple has planned regarding self driving automobiles.

    - Are they going to manufacture their own car?
    - If so, are they going to build their own plants or get involved with an existing carmaker to build it for them?
    - Or is Apple going to make a huge play and acquire an established company (like BMW)?
    - Are they going to provide a complete turnkey autonomous driving solution manufacturers can add to their own vehicles?
    - Or are they going to provide certain key components only (like software or processing)?
    - Is Apple even doing this for a consumer purchased vehicle or are they going after "public" transportation (like something to replace taxis and car-share programs)?

    The bottom line is there's still plenty we don't know about their future plans. The only thing we know for sure is they're doing "something" in this space. Whatever that is remains a secret.
  • Reply 19 of 34
    theothergeofftheothergeoff Posts: 2,081member
    benz917 said:
    Strange that they would target Lexus as Lexus/Toyota has been a major holdout on CarPlay...
    Carplay(audio control) != Automotive Control System.

    If the databus for the vehicle controls is better exposed and/or Lexus Engineering is volunteering to make it so, who cares if the car radio isn't mind melding with your phone.


  • Reply 20 of 34
    I believe Apple's self driving car ambitions will be rolled out in several phases. 

    The inital phase will will probably be:
    Apple tech + Lexus SUV + Hertz

    While the self driving tech is road tested on a limited scale by Hertz, Apple can finish the design of the Apple Car. 

    The second phase will be:
    Apple Car + Didi Chuxing(China)

    The third phase will be:
    Apple Car + Apple Ride sharing(Rest of the world)
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