The driverless car, a BMW 5 Series sedan, picked us up Sunday afternoon for the two-mile ride.
We hopped in, selected a pre-determined destination from a Lyft app, and made our way to Caesars Palace, safely weaving through traffic and stopping for pedestrians. “This is the future of transportation,” said fellow passenger Glen De Vos, chief technology officer of Aptiv (ticker: APTV), which developed the self-driving system to work in Las Vegas after two months of mapping activity.
Lyft and Aptiv offered Barron’s a first-person demonstration starting at the Gold Lot at the Las Vegas Convention Center’s North Plaza, which has become home to more and more car-technology exhibits each year at the Consumer Electronics Show.
The companies brought a fleet of eight high-priced autonomous vehicles to ferry consumers to 20 locations in what so far is the highest-profile display of how far the technology has come.
Nearby, Torc Robotics was offering consumers private rides in its self-driving cars, the start of the consumer-testing phase of its Asimov system. Meanwhile, a driver-less van and mini-people mover transported people along Fremont Street in downtown Vegas. Volkswagen (SWX: VW) and Hyundai Motor (Korea: 005380), both of whom have booths at CES, are teaming with start-up Aurora to power their self-driving cars.
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