Self-driving cars, regardless of Elon Musk’s ambitious targets for Tesla, are on a slow development path, but developers of the technology keep racking up real-world experience. Aptiv and Lyft, which launched a low-key commercial robo-taxi service in Las Vegas last year, say they’ve hit an early goal by giving rides to tens of thousands of paying customers.
The commercial program, which started in May 2018, has logged more than 50,000 individual trips in its fleet of 30 modified BMW 5-Series sedans, the companies said. The cars, with software, sensors, computers and an enhanced electrical system provided by Aptiv, can be hailed by anyone using the Lyft app in Las Vegas, though each arrives with a safety driver at the wheel. (Waymo, Alphabet Inc.’s self-driving tech unit, operates a much larger robo-taxi fleet in suburban Phoenix, though it’s available to only 1,000 or so preregistered users.)