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Lyft autonomous vehicles surpass 50K rides in Las Vegas

Updated May 31, 2019 - 12:41 pm

Self-driving vehicles operating on Lyft’s network have completed over 50,000 rides in Las Vegas.

Aptiv, the automotive technology company that outfits the 30 BMW 5 Series vehicles used in the Lyft program with various sensors, cameras and computers, announced the milestone was reached one-year into the project.

Calling it the largest robotaxi service in the world, Aptiv said the autonomous vehicles serve customers at over 2,100 locations in the Las Vegas Valley, including hotels, entertainment venues, restaurants, and popular destinations throughout the Las Vegas Strip and downtown area, including City Hall and the Las Vegas Convention Center.

“I’m often asked, ‘When will self-driving cars arrive?’ My answer: They’re already here,” said Karl Iagnemma, president, Aptiv Autonomous Mobility, in a statement. “If you find yourself in Las Vegas — and, soon enough, other cities around the world— you can ride in one of Aptiv’s self-driving cars.”

Passengers have rated their rides an average of 4.97 out of five stars, with 92 percent of riders saying they felt “very safe” or “extremely safe” during their rides, according to Aptiv.

The self-driving vehicles on the Lyft network are on the road 20 hours per day, seven days per week and feature a safety driver on board whose hand hovers over the steering wheel in case an emergency action is needed. An engineer is also in the passenger seat monitoring the system at all times, according to Aptiv.

Aptiv has a commercial autonomous vehicle center in Las Vegas and has a fleet of 75 autonomous vehicles roaming around Las Vegas.

The vehicles not on the Lyft system receive new programming ahead of the Lyft vehicles for testing without customers inside. Any improvements to the platform’s software are tested first in simulation and then at an undisclosed location north of Las Vegas before the cars are deployed on valley roads.

Autonomous mobility has the ability to make roads safer and offers a more efficient mode of transportation, Iagnemma said. Aptiv research revealed the robotaxis can provide dependable and convenient transportation in urban areas, while reducing the number of cars on the road, Iagnemma said.

“Our work in Las Vegas is proof positive that Aptiv is delivering on our mission to provide safer, greener, and more connected mobility solutions,” he said.

Contact Mick Akers at makers@reviewjournal.com or 702-387-2920. Follow @mickakers on Twitter.

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