Lyft Completes 55,000 Self-Driving Car Rides in Las Vegas

  • Nick Jaynes has worked for more than a decade in automotive media industry. In that time, he's done it all—from public relations for Chevrolet to new-car reviews for Mashable. Nick now lives in Portland, Oregon and spends his weekends traversing off-road trails in his 100 Series Toyota Land Cruiser.

can be reached at nickjaynes@gmail.com
  • Nick Jaynes has worked for more than a decade in automotive media industry. In that time, he's done it all—from public relations for Chevrolet to new-car reviews for Mashable. Nick now lives in Portland, Oregon and spends his weekends traversing off-road trails in his 100 Series Toyota Land Cruiser.

can be reached at nickjaynes@gmail.com
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Have you ever wanted to take a ride in a truly self-driving car? You might want to make a pilgrimage to Las Vegas. Lyft and Aptiv are offering autonomous rides in Sin City.

  • Last May, Lyft and Aptiv launched a self-driving ride program in Las Vegas, Nevada.
  • In August 2018, they surpassed 5,000 rides.
  • This month, they marked 50,000 rides, making it largest self-driving program in the U.S.
  • Riders rate the cars quite highly, which bodes well for the future of the tech.

Just twelve short months ago, Lyft — along with partner Aptiv — celebrated the launch of their self-driving ride-hailing scheme in Las Vegas, Nevada. Not long after, in August of that year, the two companies marked 5,000 self-driving rides through the streets of Sin City in the fleet of 30 self-driving vehicles.

This week, however, Lyft announced that it has surpassed 50,000 rides in the Aptiv self-driving car fleet. That makes it the largest self-driving program in the U.S. and also the world. What’s more, Aptiv plans to expand the program to other cities around the world soon. We reached out to Aptiv for more information on its expansion. As this is written, we have not heard back.

“So far, we’ve been very pleased with what we’ve heard from our passengers taking a self-driving ride with us in Las Vegas,” Lyft wrote in a company blog post.

If you want to take a ride in one of Lyft and Aptiv’s self-driving cars, first you need to be in Las Vegas (obviously). Secondly, open the Lyft app and and choose the “Self-Driving” option. And one of Aptiv’s 30 self-driving BMWs will come pick you up. There’s a catch, though: You need to be already on the strip or Las Vegas’ downtown area. That’s where the cars are relegated to.

Despite the public sentiments being rather chilly toward autonomous cars, Las Vegas Lyft users have responded quite favorably to the autonomous rides trial. The average rating is a 4.97 out of five stars. Ninety-two percent of riders felt ‘very’ or ‘extremely’ safe in the cars. And, for 95% of riders, it was their first time in an autonomous vehicle.

These sorts of trials are a great way, albeit a slow way, to expose folks to the benefits of self-driving cars. However, don’t let this sort of program lead you to believe that robotaxis, of which Elon Musk said Tesla would have one million on the road by the end of next year, will become prevalent anytime soon. I recently posited that self-driving ride-sharing vehicles will be some of the last to hit the road. Low-speed shuttles running on a closed loop (think a train without tracks) and privately held over-the-road trucks will likely be the first widespread implementation of self-driving tech.

Once the tech does take off, though, it will be essentially unstoppable (I mean from a business growth perspective, not the cars themselves). UBS Evidence Labs estimates that the robotaxi business could be worth $2 trillion by 2030. What’s more, when autonomous cars are used as taxis, the number of taxi vehicles in New York City will be slashed by two thirds. Lyft and Aptiv are hedging their future on that fact.


About the Author

  • Nick Jaynes has worked for more than a decade in automotive media industry. In that time, he's done it all—from public relations for Chevrolet to new-car reviews for Mashable. Nick now lives in Portland, Oregon and spends his weekends traversing off-road trails in his 100 Series Toyota Land Cruiser.

can be reached at nickjaynes@gmail.com
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