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Apple Working With Hertz on Autonomous Car Testing [Updated]

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Apple's effort to test autonomous vehicle technology in California involves a collaboration with Hertz, the second largest U.S. car rental company, reports Bloomberg.


The disclosure of the relationship between Apple and Hertz came in documents recently released by the California Department of Motor Vehicles. The documents note Apple is leasing its small fleet of Lexus RX450h SUVs for autonomous driving tests from Hertz's fleet management group.
The iPhone maker is leasing Lexus RX450h sport-utility vehicles from Hertz's Donlen fleet-management unit, according to documents released recently by the California Department of Motor Vehicles. 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.
Hertz's stock price is up nearly 15 percent on the news, as investors speculate about a larger partnership between the two companies as Apple's project moves forward.

The news comes as Alphabet's self-driving car unit Waymo has announced an agreement with Avis Budget to manage Waymo's fleet of Chrysler Pacifica minivans.

Update: Apple tells CNBC that there is no partnership with Hertz and that Apple is simply leasing six vehicles from Hertz for its project.

Article Link: Apple Working With Hertz on Autonomous Car Testing [Updated]
 

filmantopia

macrumors 6502a
Feb 5, 2010
696
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Clearly Apple isn't working on a car. They're working on a big iPhone that can drive you around.
 
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shk718

macrumors 65816
Jun 26, 2007
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If this works I bet Apple will buy Hertz. They need to own a fleet of very specific cars, those with their hardware/software in them. This is why buying something like UBER wouldn't work. UBER doesn't own cars. And they don't need to buy a car company (or build their own) because they aren't making money from selling cars. They're looking to become a modern version of the car rental agency, with steady streams of $ flowing in. I wouldn't be surprised if they do design a car (or lineup of cars) and have someone make it for them, with the "Apple" look and feel.
 
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Jakexb

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Mar 18, 2014
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"Hertz's stock price is up nearly 15 percent on the news, as investors speculate about a larger partnership between the two companies as Apple's project moves forward. "

That's not a great speculation
 
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farewelwilliams

macrumors 68040
Jun 18, 2014
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why is the stock up? could it not be that Apple just needs a rental to test the car and doesn't need to buy the car since they're going to try different cars?
 
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carlhancock

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Apr 7, 2006
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Well, I'll only buy it if it's not a Lexus.

I don't think Apple wants you to buy one of their self driving cars.

They are going to want you to use one of their self driving cars like people use Lyft/Uber.

I don't think they are creating their own car from scratch like Tesla. I think they are doing what Google is doing with Waymo and customizing existing cars via manufacturers they partner with in order to create fleets of self driving cars you can use on demand.
[doublepost=1498505079][/doublepost]
"Hertz's stock price is up nearly 15 percent on the news, as investors speculate about a larger partnership between the two companies as Apple's project moves forward. "

That's not a great speculation

Considering the news this morning from Bloomberg that Google's Waymo had partnered with Avis to do the exact same thing... it's actually great speculation.

Apple will need someone to keep their self-driving car fleet cleaned and Hertz has the network of rental car retail locations that can do exactly that just like Avis is going to be doing for Waymo.

After reading the Waymo news this morning about their partnership with Avis, it makes sense for Apple to partner with one of the other major rental car companies.

I repeat below what I said in another comment...

I don't think Apple is working on a self-driving car to sell direct to consumers like Tesla.

I think Apple is working on self-driving car technology that they can bolt on to existing car by manufactures they partner with to create a fleet of self-driving cars that you can summon on your mobile device like you do with Uber/Lyft.

Partnering with someone like Hertz makes perfect sense in this scenario. It's the same direction and partnership route Waymo is taking.
 
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Rogifan

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Nov 14, 2011
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Wouldn't the bigger news be if Apple was working with Lexus (Toyota)? What's the big deal about leasing vehicles from Hertz for testing?
 
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Vanilla35

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Apr 11, 2013
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"Hertz's stock price is up nearly 15 percent on the news, as investors speculate about a larger partnership between the two companies as Apple's project moves forward. "

That's not a great speculation

Let's be honest, anything to get Hertz investors active is probably a good thing.
 
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carlhancock

macrumors newbie
Apr 7, 2006
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Wouldn't the bigger news be if Apple was working with Lexus (Toyota)? What's the big deal about leasing vehicles from Hertz for testing?

Fleet management. Someone has to clean/maintain the fleet on a daily basis. It's the same reason Google's Waymo has partnered with Avis. Like Avis, Hertz has rental car locations all over the country that already clean and keep the cars they rent on the road. This likely isn't just for testing. If Apple has longterm plans to deploy a fleet of autonomous vehicles to provide a ridesharing service like Uber/Lyft (or partner/acquire one) they have to have people that will be there to clean and manage those fleets. That is exactly what companies like Hertz and Avis currently do with their rental car fleets.
 
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falainber

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Mar 16, 2016
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I just don't get it. Apple leased the vehicles for developing software? Could not they afford to build/buy ones?
 
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Rogifan

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Nov 14, 2011
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I don't think Apple is working on a self-driving car to sell direct to consumers like Tesla.

I think Apple is working on self-driving car technology that they can bolt on to existing car by manufactures they partner with to create a fleet of self-driving cars that you can summon on your mobile device like you do with Uber/Lyft.

Partnering with someone like Hertz makes perfect sense in this scenario. It's the same direction and partnership route Waymo is taking.
What manuafactuer is going to partner with Apple? All these car companies are doing their own thing and have been for longer than Apple has. Google is not in the hardware business so no surprise they're not building their own vehicles. But Apple's magic is when hardware, software and services all come together. I can't see them being successful with their software and services bolted on to someone else's hardware. The other thing is Apple is all about the experience. Do they really want a customers experience to be via someone else's product? How did that work out with the ROKR or more recently the LG 5K stand alone monitor? Furthermore what auto company is going to want to give up its dashboard and in car experience to Apple? CarPlay is just projected
 
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szw-mapple fan

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Jul 28, 2012
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I don't think Apple wants you to buy one of their self driving cars.

They are going to want you to use one of their self driving cars like people use Lyft/Uber.

I don't think they are creating their own car from scratch like Tesla. I think they are doing what Google is doing with Waymo and customizing existing cars via manufacturers they partner with in order to create fleets of self driving cars you can use on demand.
[doublepost=1498505079][/doublepost]

Considering the news this morning from Bloomberg that Google's Waymo had partnered with Avis to do the exact same thing... it's actually great speculation.

Apple will need someone to keep their self-driving car fleet cleaned and Hertz has the network of rental car retail locations that can do exactly that just like Avis is going to be doing for Waymo.

After reading the Waymo news this morning about their partnership with Avis, it makes sense for Apple to partner with one of the other major rental car companies.

I repeat below what I said in another comment...

I don't think Apple is working on a self-driving car to sell direct to consumers like Tesla.

I think Apple is working on self-driving car technology that they can bolt on to existing car by manufactures they partner with to create a fleet of self-driving cars that you can summon on your mobile device like you do with Uber/Lyft.

Partnering with someone like Hertz makes perfect sense in this scenario. It's the same direction and partnership route Waymo is taking.

I think Apple is working on their self driving system first and they will be aquiring a car manufacturer to put that system on in the coming years. Buying a car manufacturer would greatly reduce the growing pains that Tesla had to go through during its ramp up to mass production, not to mention brining in all the suppliers. Besides, since we are at beginning stages of the electrification of cars, it makes sense for Apple to wait and see who can develop the best tech (other than Tesla, which probably isn't lookjng for an acquisition any time soon).
 
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carlhancock

macrumors newbie
Apr 7, 2006
11
40
What manuafactuer is going to partner with Apple? All these car companies are doing their own thing and have been for longer than Apple has. Google is not in the hardware business so no surprise they're not building their own vehicles. But Apple's magic is when hardware, software and services all come together. I can't see them being successful with their software and services bolted on to someone else's hardware. The other thing is Apple is all about the experience. Do they really want a customers experience to be via someone else's product? How did that work out with the ROKR or more recently the LG 5K stand alone monitor? Furthermore what auto company is going to want to give up its dashboard and in car experience to Apple? CarPlay is just projected

What manufacturer is going to want to partner with Apple? The manufacturers that want to lease and/or sell (most likely lease) A LOT of vehicles to Apple.

Apple isn't going to be partnering manufacturers to provide them with self-driving cars to put in their vehicles to sell consumers.

Apple is going to be retrofitting car manufactured by whichever manufacturers they choose to source them from, most likely via a fleet leasing program, retrofit them with the self-driving car technology they are development and then deploy them as a fleet of self-driving vehicles you can summon like you do a Uber or Lyft now.

This is exactly what Google is doing with Waymo and doesn't necessitate developing their own car from scratch like Tesla. It's why Google abandoned developing their own car earlier this year in favor of retrofitting existing minivans with their Waymo self-driving technology.

They don't want to sell you a self-driving car. They want you to summon a self-driving car to take you where you need to go. Then the self-driving car will go pick up someone else and take them to where they need to go.

Then a company like Hertz who will manage the fleet so that the cars return to a location to be cleaned, inspected, services, etc. Why someone like Hertz? Because they already have a network of rental car locations that do this exact same thing with rental cars.

Why would a manufacturer sell Apple cars so they can do this? Money. Why would a company like Hertz partner with Apple to manage their fleet? Money.

This is a much smarter play that would attract much quicker adoption than trying to sell consumers self-driving car that Apple would have to develop from scratch, service, maintain, etc. Look at the popularity of Uber and Lyft (also a Waymo partner). Which is why both Google's Waymo is going this route and it appears Apple is going in this direction too.
 
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sudo1996

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I just don't get it. Apple leased the vehicles for developing software? Could not they afford to build/buy ones?
Why spend the extra money? When it's time to ditch my 2005 Ford Crown Victoria PI, I'm considering just renting a nice car whenever I need it since that would be cheaper than buying one. Plus I'd get to drive a different car every time :)
 
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4RUNRCLB

macrumors member
Nov 3, 2016
42
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That's in interesting choice of "partner" to get in bed with. Gotta say the apple set up in the picture looks kinda ugly compaired to Uber or Google
 
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Bacillus

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Jun 25, 2009
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Wouldn't the bigger news be if Apple was working with Lexus (Toyota)? What's the big deal about leasing vehicles from Hertz for testing?
There is no big deal. Doing experiments with a Lexus isn't getting any easier.
Fleet management isn't exactly the answer to the lack of a well-bred software solution.
This seems buying marketshare without a competitive product/pilot
Probably PR/marketing buzz to divert attention from technology that simply doesn't come off the ground and hide the fact that Apple could not attract a manufacturing partner.

This way, an AppleLexusCar will never be able to steer itself out of its own walled-garden
It is to be the AppleTV on wheels: an integration overpromise, stranding as an accessory
Following the CarPlay route: lots of overpromising/arrogance, slow delivery, while carmakers provide their own, better integrated infotainment solutions. And the iPhone ends up as a music streamer...if its bluetooth survives the next beta...
 
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Vasilioskn

macrumors 6502
Jun 30, 2010
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New York
Hertz, a company with the same great reputation and products as Apple... sarcasm. When I think of Hertz, I get an instant whiff of disgusting rental car odor

Just curious which car rental company has a great rep? I’ve rented from almost all of them in America and to me they’ve all been pretty much the same.
 
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cjackson951

macrumors newbie
Aug 21, 2009
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First thing that pops to mind for me...imagine getting off your plane for a business trip. You open up your Hertz app and check in...when you pick up your baggage and head outside your self-driving rental is waiting for you to load and go. When it's time to leave it works in reverse...you just pull up, unload and the car returns itself to the lot. With the tech now it's not that far-fetched
 
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DrumApple

macrumors 6502a
Jan 30, 2009
536
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Just curious which car rental company has a great rep? I’ve rented from almost all of them in America and to me they’ve all been pretty much the same.
None. I never said any rental car company has a good rep. My point is that Apple partnering with any car rental company is such a contrast between types of companies!
 
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WBRacing

macrumors 65816
Nov 19, 2012
1,290
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UK
I hope Apple's lawyers checked this loathsome companies small-print VERY carefully. Having previously been stung by them and their additional chargeable extras they snuck in under the guise of a gold card membership, I am still feeling particularly burned from the day I turned up to collect my pre-booked car only to be told that it only came with 3rd party insurance (leaving me liable for the entire cost of the car in the event of a total loss incident) and to upgrade to comprehensive cover it would more than double the cost of the rental.

I will never use Hertz again, and now rent a vehicle every other weekend using Europcar. Whilst not perfect, the cars have all been immaculate and I get processed quickly. I usually see the same guy at the rental desk at the airport and he is brilliant and looked after me after I walked away from the Hertz desk refusing to pay extra for insurance that should have been included.

</ rant>
 
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