Apple Responds To Google-Avis, Announces Deal With Hertz To "Manage Autonomous Fleet"

Several hours after Alphabet announced that Waymo, its self-driving unit, has reached an agreement for Avis Budget Group to manage its fleet of autonomous vehicles (which includes Avis changing the cars' oil and letting them park in its lots), unleashing a furious short squeeze within the fleet/rental space, moments ago Apple likewise unveiled a deal in which it would leasing a small fleet of autonomous testing cars from Hertz Global, according to Bloomberg.

Specifically, 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

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.

As for the earlier deal announcement, Avis announced it would service and store Waymo’s Chrysler Pacifica minivans in Phoenix, where the parent of Google is testing a ride-hailing service with volunteer members of the public. According to Bloomberg, the arrangement with Avis "gives Waymo a sprawling network of traditional cars and customers that could be transformed into an autonomous transport service over time."

While the ultimate benefit to Avis and Hertz remains to be seen - and if it is indeed simply a maintenance and parking JV, there may be some disappointment - for now the stocks are loving it, with both names surging double digits mostly as a result of bears bailing out from the two heavily shorted names. As a point of reference, 52% of HTZ's float is short, and just happens to be at an all time high in absolute terms which should explain the kneejerk reaction in the stock(s).


SloMoe Mon, 06/26/2017 - 14:44 Permalink

Hopefully, Hertz brings OJ back, when he gets out of prison. Maybe someday we can order up an autonomous white Bronco, for a dash to the airport?

montresor (not verified) Mon, 06/26/2017 - 14:42 Permalink

I care more about my life than Tim Cook's robot.. That's why Tim's robot isn't allowed to drive me anywhere.

Dg4884 Mon, 06/26/2017 - 14:50 Permalink

Just canned Hertz two weeks ago.  We are now a National client.  Hertz sucks anyway.  Half the time you have to follow up cause they don't issue your points.   A big fat pffftttt from me.

pitz Mon, 06/26/2017 - 15:01 Permalink

Dumb.  Self-driving vehicles are at least a decade away and will cost over a million bucks per unit.  They may as have announced a deal to sell crack with Hertz or Avis when it becomes legalized, because that's about as realistic as 'fleets' of self-driving cars truly will be.  When Silicon Valley's hype and spin machine is out of control, you know the top is near.

nidaar Mon, 06/26/2017 - 15:03 Permalink

When all car rentals and taxi companies get on the bus, having a car with a human driver, or even human controls will be another elitist showoff thingy.

Lumberjack GodHelpAmerica (not verified) Mon, 06/26/2017 - 15:49 Permalink

On mars...and they still get stuck without traffic. I cannot imagine in the winter how these things will do on slippery roads. Let alone construction zones where TSLA autopilot failed. Especially the autonomous trucks. I spent time as a fire chief and saw some shit. These autonomous vehicles have no place on public roads/highways in my professional humble opinion.

In reply to by GodHelpAmerica (not verified)

adr Mon, 06/26/2017 - 16:21 Permalink

And winner of the most idiotic stock surge of the year goes to......People still buy a lot of homes built prior to 1960. IN fact just about any home built prior to 1960 will last a lot longer than any home built from 2000 till now. Homes built in 2000 are just about falling to pieces in 2017.But we're going to have self driving cars by 2020. Yeah right.Oh and the self driving prototypes are Lexus SUVs that cost $350 a day to rent.At least Hertz still lets you rent a car one way. Enterprise charges you $350 to drop a car off somewhere else. 

Insearch Mon, 06/26/2017 - 17:09 Permalink

Ha! Ask any Uber driver who uses Hertz/Uber vehicle solutions getting charged $900-1000 a month how unbelievablely bad service is at Hertz... the worst! I've returned 2 vehicles because of transmission problems, hertz expects you to oil up the car... ridiculous

John Law Lives Mon, 06/26/2017 - 17:12 Permalink

Maybe Alphabet and Apple could create a new form of entertainment that involves autonomous cars participating in a smash-up derby.  The cars directed by Alphabet could do the Malachi Crunch on the cars directed by Apple.