If you happen to be in Las Vegas for next week’s Consumer Electronics Show, you may have a chance to experience driving in an autonomous taxi for the first time. Lyft is teaming up with Delphi’s tech unit, Aptiv, to offer self-driving cab rides during the conference.
It won’t be a fully-driverless experience, as Lyft and Aptiv said in a press release that a safety driver will be in the front seat to take control of the wheel, if necessary. That, the companies say, will allow for them to provide a “safe and educational” experience.
The partnership with Aptiv is Lyft’s latest foray into the self-driving car world. Just last month, it kicked off a pilot program in Boston with startup Nutonomy, but Lyft and Aptiv are calling the Last Vegas venture a “first-of-its-kind fully automated point-to-point ride-hailing experience.”
It’s a smart move. Consumers and motorists are still getting acclimated to the idea of self-driving cars; a safety driver at the wheel allows people to experience the technology with confidence. For automakers and autonomous tech developers, that’s key: studies roughly show that one-in-four people are interested in self-driving cars right now.
If you’re in Las Vegas from Jan. 9-12, you’ll be able to request a self-driving ride from the Las Vegas Convention Center’s Gold Lot, according to the press release. The rides will also include an “in-car host” riding shotgun next to the safety driver. Lyft and Aptiv say the rides will be offered to more than 20 specific destinations throughout Las Vegas.
An Aptiv spokesperson says the pilot will include eight BMW 5 Series sedans outfitted with automated driving technology. If you happen to catch a ride next week, drop a line at email@example.com and let me know how it goes.