Lyft, Aptiv Pass 50,000-Trip Mark With Autonomous Vehicles

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【Summary】The companies have reached another major milestone since starting the self-driving program at last year’s Consumer Electronics Show.

Original Vineeth Joel Patel    Jul 12, 2019 5:00 AM PT
Lyft, Aptiv Pass 50,000-Trip Mark With Autonomous Vehicles

At the beginning of last year, Aptiv and Lyft announced an interesting partnership that saw the companies introduce a self-driving program to ferry passengers in Las Vegas in autonomous vehicles. The self-driving BMWs used Aptiv's autonomous technology and were available to Lyft's users using the latter's platform. It worked extremely well, as the two companies reached a 5,000 milestone in August 2018. Now, nearly a year and a half later, the company has hit another major milestone.

50,000 Autonomous Rides Have Been Completed

In a blog post, Lyft announced that the companies had passed 50,000 self-driving rides at the end of May. Lyft claims that it only took the companies one year to reach the figure, but the cars were operating at CES, which took place in January, so there's some gray area on the timeline. Nonetheless, passing the 50,000-mark makes "Lyft and Aptiv the largest commercial self-driving program in the U.S.," claims the ride-hailing company.

Clearly, Lyft and Aptiv are giving rides to a lot of people. And while reports and surveys have indicated that the majority of consumers in the U.S. aren't interested or comfortable with autonomous vehicles, Lyft's data reveals another picture. The ride-hailing company claims that the average ride has been rated at 4.97 stars out of 5. A staggering 92 percent of riders claimed that they felt "very safe or extremely safe during the ride." Those are great figures, especially for a program that only started recently. Plus, 95 percent of riders claimed that the ride was "the first time taking a self-driving ride."

There's no way to verify this, but Lyft has a few "post-ride reactions" to share. One of them is: "Great ride. Fascinating technology. First time in an autonomous vehicle and very safe."

An Autonomous Future Is Possible

Overall, this is fantastic news for Lyft, Aptiv, and BMW, which are all looking into an autonomous future, but also for outsiders like Waymo, Uber, and others. Everyone's interested in autonomous vehicles as a way of ferrying riders around, and Lyft and Aptiv's milestone shows that it can work safely and enjoyably for passengers.

The vehicles the company are currently using for its autonomous program include a fleet of approximately 30 BMW 5-Series sedans. The sedans feature Aptiv's latest self-driving tech, including radar, LiDAR, and numerous cameras. Things are going so well for Aptiv, and the program is clearly doing extremely well, the company is looking to expand to China with its tech. 

Lyft and Aptiv's program reveals that self-driving vehicles can work alongside human-operated cars. There are some limitations to the program, as the vehicles only travel on a fixed route and have a safety driver on board, but it works. If the program in Las Vegas continues, it will be interesting to see how many rides the companies manage to provide after the two-, three-, and four-year mark.

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