A few weeks ago Lyft and Aptiv announced their 5000th paid self-driving car ride in Las Vegas. The Lyft blog announcement quotes Raj Kapoor: “Lyft is the largest network currently deploying a commercial self-driving program to the public.”
I believe that is correct and may, in fact, slightly understate Lyft’s position. Lyft is one of the only companies offering self-driving rides to the general public, since Uber halted its autonomous vehicle testing program earlier this year.
Waymo and several other companies have self-driving car pilots available to pre-screened participants, but few companies are currently opening their network to any member of the general public.
Earlier this year, AAA was running a self-driving NAVYA shuttle through downtown Las Vegas, although the website currently implies the shuttle is offline and will return later this month.
Las Vegas has long been a mecca for self-driving cars for a few reasons:
- The weather is sunny
- The streets are wide and rectilinear
- The Consumer Electronics Show in January has prompted companies to run demos in the city already
Waymo announced earlier this year that its Phoenix-area self-driving cars would open to the general public at some point in 2018.
But, for now, the best place for you and me and almost anybody to try out a self-driving car is Las Vegas.