Lyft and Aptiv Deploy 30 Self-Driving Cars for Las Vegas Public Trial

Will it help familiarize ordinary riders with autonomous cars?

byStephen Edelstein|
Lyft and Aptiv Deploy 30 Self-Driving Cars for Las Vegas Public Trial

If you find yourself on the Las Vegas Strip anytime soon, keep an eye out for self-driving cars. Lyft and Aptiv (the former automotive supplier Delphi) are using 30 autonomous cars to give rides to members of the public.

The two companies demonstrated self-driving cars in Las Vegas during CES 2018, but that demo was only open to journalists. Now anyone can hail a self-driving car using the Lyft app, just like they would for any other Lyft ride. However, passengers will have to opt into the autonomous-car ride, and will only be able to travel to certain "high-demand locations," according to Aptiv. Human safety drivers will be onboard at all times.

The setup was similar to the CES demonstration, which was really more about exposing people to self-driving cars than integrating them with Lyft's everyday ride-hailing service. During CES, self-driving cars gave more than 400 rides and earned an average customer rating of 4.99 out of five stars, according to Aptiv.

Continued collaboration between Lyft and Aptiv is the latest manifestation of the ride-hailing company's sprawling self-driving car program. Lyft also operates an autonomous ride-hailing pilot program in Boston, in partnership with Aptiv-owned startup NuTonomy. In addition to its various partnerships, Lyft has an in-house autonomous-car development program.

Lyft's ultimate goal is to use self-driving cars for the vast majority of its rides. However, to do that, it will not only have to perfect a complex technology but also convince members of the public to use it. Recent studies indicate that won't be easy, but offering demonstration rides to the public is probably a good place to start.