Ride-hailing service Lyft and its technology parter Aptiv this week launched an autonomous taxi service in Las Vegas.
Following a trial during the CES technology show in Vegas in January, the automated service is now available to the general public. Lyft customers can opt in to the service then hail the cars like they would a regular, human-driven vehicle.
The service will include 30 vehicles, each manned by a "highly-trained safety driver" who can take over control of the car at any time. The vehicles will be available for shuttling passengers between some of the most popular destinations in Las Vegas (rather than being capable of driving them anywhere).
As used during the CES trial, the cars are modified BMWs powered by autonomous technology developed by Aptiv. The vehicles are equipped with nine Lidar systems, 10 radar, a trifocal camera, GPS and a vehicle-to-infrastructure system for communicating with stop lights.
The autonomous cars will have to navigate busy Vegas trafficiStock
"With Aptiv's autonomous driving technology deployed throughout Las Vegas and broadly accessible through the Lyft app, a wide range of consumers will be able to share the experience of autonomous vehicles in a complex urban environment," said Kevin Clark, Aptiv president and chief executive officer. "More importantly, the resulting knowledge and data will allow us to further refine our autonomous driving capabilities and strengthen our portfolio of industry-leading active safety solutions."
Founded in 2012, Lyft is widely considered as the closest rival to Uber in the ride-sharing market, and claims to be available to 95 percent of the US population. Headquartered in Dublin, Aptiv is a technology company with a focus on connected vehicles and future mobility.
Lyft entered a "multi-year" partnership with Aptiv at the start of this year, a move which will combine connected service capabilities with the managing of a ride-sharing fleet.