As Google’s Waymo announced a deal with Avis this morning to store and service a fleet of its autonomous vehicles, Apple is reported to be partnering with Hertz as a part of its self-driving vehicle efforts.
The arrangement between Waymo and Avis will be based on vehicle storage and light service while Waymo will retain vehicle ownership. In contrast, Apple’s deal with Hertz will include leasing a small number of Lexus RX450H vehicles, the same model it has been using since the California Department of Motor Vehicles approved Apple to test self-driving technology.
Bloomberg reports that while both Apple and Hertz haven’t commented on the arrangement, someone familiar with the matter shared that Apple has about half a dozen autonomous vehicles on the road around San Francisco. It’s currently unknown how many vehicles Apple plans to lease or any further details about the deal.
As of this writing, Hertz shares have jumped just about 13% on the news of the deal.
We’ve seen a leak with some of Apple’s self-driving car test program details, but the company’s vehicle efforts have remained mostly unclear. Tim Cook just this month told Bloomberg that the company may or may not make a car, but that Apple finds autonomous systems and self-driving vehicles “incredibly exciting.”