Apple has turned to a familiar name in the automotive rental world to test its secretive self-driving vehicle technology. According to documents recently released by the California Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV), Apple is leasing a small number of Lexus RX450h sport-utility vehicles from Hertz Global Holdings Inc.’s Donlen fleet-management unit.
Apple’s name has been linked to the development of autonomous driving technology for a few years now. Initial reports suggested the company was developing its own self-driving vehicle under the banner Project Titan although recently, we’ve heard that Apple shifted focus and is now working strictly on software development.
Should that prove accurate, Apple would likely look to partner with an established automaker to get its driving tech on the road.
A person familiar with the matter tells Bloomberg that Apple has been testing its autonomous driving technology on public roads in and around the San Francisco Bay area for at least a year. Apple was awarded a permit by the DMV to test self-driving vehicles in the state of California back in April.
Hertz’s stock is up more than 13.5 percent on the news as of writing. Apple’s share value, meanwhile, is down 0.31 percent.
Hertz isn’t the only rental car firm topping tech headlines. Earlier today, it was announced that Avis is partnering with Alphabet company Waymo on a self-driving program that’ll see the rental car specialist service and house Waymo’s self-driving minivans in Phoenix.