As technology and auto mobile continue to evolve and engineers continue to look for ways of bettering experienes in cars and taxis, Lyft and Aptiv have launched few self driven cars in Las Vegas.
Aptiv and Lyft, which launched a low-key commercial robo-taxi service in Las Vegas last year, say they’ve hit an early goal by giving rides to tens of thousands of paying customers.
The commercial program, which started in May 2018, has logged more than 50,000 individual trips in its fleet of 30 modified BMW 5-Series sedans, the companies said.
The cars, with software, sensors, computers and an enhanced electrical system provided by Aptiv, can be hailed by anyone using the Lyft app in Las Vegas, though each arrives with a safety driver at the wheel.
“We believe it’s the largest open-to-the-public, self-driving autonomous vehicle service in the world,” Karl Iagnemma, Aptiv’s president of autonomous mobility, said. “You basically call a vehicle as you would a normal Lyft. If you’re lucky, one of our vehicles comes and picks you up–and chances are that trip is going to be entirely hands off the wheel.”
The pilot program operates the BMWs for 20 hours a day in a 20-square-mile section of Las Vegas that includes the crowded Strip and 2,000 hotels, casinos, restaurants and other attractions. Passengers pay the standard per-mile rate charged by conventional Lyft rides, said Kristen Quinn, the ride-hail company’s senior director for Autonomous Operations.
Aptiv’s Las Vegas program, along with the Waymo One program in metro Phoenix, is among the few public pilots in the U.S. that are designed to both refine the technology and help acclimate a wary public to robotic chauffeurs. Cruise, GM’s self-driving tech company, has said it will launch its own public program this year but hasn’t indicated when or where that will happen.
In a city renowned for nightlife and over-the-top entertainment, Aptiv’s vehicles have to be mindful of unpredictable pedestrians who may have had too much fun (or alcohol).
“We design our system to handle jaywalkers, and you want to be alert to people who are crossing where there’s not a crosswalk or maybe stepping off a curb into the street,” Iagnemma said. “It’s the kind of thing we’re alert to in Vegas because sometimes people aren’t paying as close attention as they should.”
There had always been a tease for self driven taxis and cars to become a thing and while most companies are still making adjustments and improving technology, Lyft and Aptiv would have made huge strides.
The question of when this will come to Africa may need to be held on a bit so that Africa can finalize on clear mapping among other things so that the program can work effortlessly.
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Author: Moses Echodu
Moses is a freelance writer for Newslibre and Programs Manager at the Craft Silicon Foundation. He loves writing about sports, politics and news around the globe and Inspiring new young people!!