At a recent conference in Las Vegas I was picked up by one of 30 autonomous vehicles in the Lyft fleet. There were two people in the car, one in the driver’s seat, the other in the passenger’s seat. The ‘driver’ was there for ‘safety’ reasons and to take control of the vehicle in the event a hazardous situation arose. In the passenger seat was a second person with a laptop receiving data, who was charged with documenting each fail situation where the vehicle has to be operated manually.
Aptiv, (https://www.aptiv.com/self-driving-experience) ticker symbol APTV, the company running the technology behind the cars is headquartered in Dublin, Ireland. Aptiv has partnered with Lyft with 30 autonomous vehicles, Las Vegas being the single city using this system. The Aptiv fleet is equipped with 30 high end 5-series BMW’s all with tech modifications which are continuously reading the 360 degree surroundings of the vehicle.
There are over 200 companies currently researching and testing autonomous vehicles. All 200 have achieved Levels 1-4 autonomous and the race to Level 5 is on. When Level 5 is achieved, fully autonomous vehicles will be manufactured without a steering wheel and without gas or brake pedals. To read more about the companies topping the autonomous charts, visit https://www.wardsauto.com/technology/just-three-companies-top-navigant-s-autonomous-vehicle-ranking
Overall the experience exceeded my expectations. The technicians were very friendly, full of explanation and information and in general is was cool to be part of the experimental future.