Aptiv Reaches Milestone of 5,000 Public Trips in its Self-Driving Cars
【Summary】Since January, thousands of local residents and tourists in Las Vegas have taken a ride in one of Aptiv’s self-driving BMW’s operating on Lyft’s platform and the company just announced the completion of its 5,000th trip on the Las Vegas strip.
Earlier this year at CES, Aptiv brought some of its self-driving cars to Las Vegas. The cars were part of a marketing campaign together with ride-hailing company Lyft, allowing customers using Lyft's platform to experience a ride in a self-driving car powered by Aptiv's autonomous technology.
Since January, thousands of local residents and tourists in Las Vegas have taken a ride in one of Aptiv's self-driving BMW's operating on Lyft's platform and the company just announced the completion of its 5,000th trip on the Las Vegas strip.
Hitting 5,000 consumer rides is a major milestone, not just for Aptiv and Lyft, but for the entire nassect self-driving car industry.
"This is an important next step for Aptiv on our path to commercialization for Automated Mobility on Demand (AMoD). Through this deployment, we look forward to fine-tuning our management, expertise and leadership in autonomous driving and smart vehicle architecture, with plans to expand the commercialization of AMoD beyond Las Vegas. We are creating, with our partners–like Lyft–a commercially viable ecosystem which is poised for scalability and future growth." Aptiv released in a statement.
In May, Aptiv deployed 30 self-driving cars in Las Vegas on the Lyft network equipped with the company's autonomous driving systems. These BMW 5-series vehicles were also offered to the public, so they can experience a ride in a self-driving car by summoning a ride with Lyft. Although the trips were made in full autonomous mode, a safety driver was behind the wheel, ready to take over in any unexpected situations.
Since Aptiv began offering rides in self-driving cars to the public on the Lyft network, the company wrote that feedback has been increasingly positive.
Passengers have been describing their rides as an amazing experience and have been impressed with how well Aptiv's self-driving car perform on the road. According to Aptiv, 96 percent of passengers have indicated that they intend to ride again. Aptive reports that 20 percent of its passengers have already experienced their second or third self-driving ride.
Aptiv believes its autonomous driving platform and its vehicles will change the world of mobility. However, testing autonomous technology on public roads comes with risks.
Lyft's biggest rival Uber was testing self-driving cars on its own platform in Pittsburgh and in Tempe, Arizona for the past two years. However, after a self-driving vehicle operated by Uber fatally struck a pedestrian Tempe, the company shut down its Arizona operations. It was the first fatality involving a self-driving vehicle.
Waymo, the self-driving subsidiary of parent Alphabet, plans to launch a commercial driverless robo-taxi service later this year beginning in Arizona. Since April 2017, the company has been testing a fleet of self-driving minivans in the Phoenix metro area, picking up members of the public in its ‘Early Rider Program'. Waymo's autonomous fleet has driver over 8 million miles on public streets in the past 9 years.
Still, one of the biggest challenges for companies developing self-driving technology is public acceptance.
In May 2018, a new survey conducted by AAA found that 73 percent of all Americans had reservations about riding in a self-driving vehicle. The results are similar for pedestrians and bicyclists. Nearly two-thirds said they would feel less safe as pedestrians or while riding a bicycle. That's up from 54 percent from the March 2017 survey.
Regardless, Aptiv remains confident in it driverless technology. The company says the average passenger rating is 4.96 out of 5 stars, not bad for a car with no human driver.
Originally hailing from New Jersey, Eric is a automotive & technology reporter covering the high-tech industry here in Silicon Valley. He has over 15 years of automotive experience and a bachelors degree in computer science. These skills, combined with technical writing and news reporting, allows him to fully understand and identify new and innovative technologies in the auto industry and beyond. He has worked at Uber on self-driving cars and as a technical writer, helping people to understand and work with technology.
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