Passengers in Lyft and Aptiv's self-driving cars have given their rides an average rating of 4.97 out of 5. A Lyft VP gives 3 reasons why.

Advertisement
Passengers in Lyft and Aptiv's self-driving cars have given their rides an average rating of 4.97 out of 5. A Lyft VP gives 3 reasons why.

Lyft Aptiv self driving car

Lyft

Lyft and Aptiv use BMW 540i sedans for their self-driving rides in Las Vegas.

  • Lyft has received enthusiastic feedback from the 75,000 rides it has given in Las Vegas using self-driving cars run by Aptiv's technology.
  • Those passengers have given their rides an average rating of 4.97 points out of five, Taggart Matthiesen, Lyft's vice president of product for autonomous technology, told Business Insider in October.
  • Matthiesen said he thought that rating was higher than the average rating given by riders in Lyft's human-driven vehicles, but a Lyft public-relations employee said the company does not disclose that data to the public.
  • Excitement from riders about autonomous-driving technology has been one of the reasons for the high rating, Matthiesen said, along with the ability of the safety operator - who sits in the front passenger's seat and collects data from a computer that monitors the vehicle's self-driving system - to answer questions from passengers.
  • Matthiesen also attributed rider satisfaction to the fact that Lyft and Aptiv use BMW's 540i, a luxury sedan that starts at just under $60,000, for self-driving rides.
  • Visit Business Insider's homepage for more stories.

One hurdle faced by the developers of autonomous-driving systems is that, to prove their technology works, they'll have to test it on thousands of passengers who might react in unpredictable ways. Someone riding in a self-driving vehicle for the first time might not be as forgiving of an abrupt stop or a long wait to merge onto a highway as a software developer might.

That has not been a problem for Lyft or Aptiv so far. The companies have received enthusiastic feedback from the 75,000 rides they have given in Las Vegas using self-driving cars run by Aptiv's technology and summoned through Lyft's ride-hailing network. Those passengers have given their rides an average rating of 4.97 points out of five, Taggart Matthiesen, Lyft's vice president of product for autonomous technology, told Business Insider in October.

Advertisement

Matthiesen said he thought that rating was higher than the average rating given by riders in Lyft's human-driven vehicles, but a Lyft public-relations employee said the company does not disclose that data to the public.

Lyft gives customers who are selected for a ride in a self-driving car the ability to opt for a human-driven ride instead, so the high rating may result in part from a self-selection mechanism where people who like the idea of riding in a self-driving car opt in, and those who don't opt out. Excitement from riders about autonomous-driving technology has been one of the reasons for the high rating, Matthiesen said, along with the ability of the safety operator - who sits in the front passenger's seat and collects data from a computer that monitors the vehicle's self-driving system - to answer questions from passengers. Matthiesen also attributed rider satisfaction to the fact that Lyft and Aptiv use BMW's 540i, a luxury sedan that starts at just under $60,000, for self-driving rides.

While Lyft's self-driving vehicles in Las Vegas run on Aptiv's technology, the ride-hailing company is also developing its own software and hardware that it is testing through computer simulations; at an enclosed facility in the San Francisco Bay Area city of Concord, and on public streets in nearby Palo Alto. For now, only Lyft employees can take rides in vehicles equipped with the company's self-driving technology, and Matthiesen said the company has no specific timeline for when it expects to expand those rides to the general public.

Advertisement

But when that technology is ready for wider use, Matthiesen said Lyft's experience in ride-hailing logistics will give it an advantage over competitors who also intend to launch autonomous ride-hailing services. Lyft has already created software to predict where demand for rides will be and how long it will take for riders to arrive at their destinations, Matthiesen said, expertise that will be useful when humans are no longer behind the wheel.

{{}}