The Las Vegas program uses BMW sedans modified with self-driving sensors and a human safety driver.
For the last couple of years at CES , Lyft and Aptiv have made a big deal about offering rides in their self-driving BMWs. We've done it a few times, and the cars seemed perfectly competent. What we kind of forgot is that Lyft keeps these cars running in Sin City all the time and now, the company has announced on Friday that it's just completed its 50,000th driverless ride.
The interesting thing about the Lyft/Aptiv program is that, being located in a tourist town such as Las Vegas, means that for many people, their ride in the BMW is their first ride in a self-driving car. Interestingly, according to Lyft, 92% of riders said that it was their first self-driving experience, and the self-driving BMW has a Lyft driver rating of 4.97 stars.
Frankly, I'd give the car five stars so long as it doesn't smell like air fresheners and the infotainment system doesn't start a political conversation, but I guess I'm easily impressed.
Lyft has made no mention of plans to expand its Aptiv program beyond Vegas, but it is partnering with Waymo in Phoenix, Arizona to offer rides in driverless Waymo One shuttles. That's probably a smart move, considering the cost of further developing its own self-driving vehicles, and the fact that Waymo is currently at the top of the heap when it comes to autonomous car development.