Self-driving taxis are a hit with customers, according to Lyft. That seems to be the overwhelming conclusion the ride-hailing company has found after a year and a half of operation in Las Vegas.
Lyft launched its autonomous taxi operation using Aptiv’s fleet of 30 self-driving BMWs at CES in 2018, and expanded it to the public a few months later. Over the last year it has completed 50,000 rides with residents and visitors to the city, and its feedback has been overwhelmingly positive. The company shared on its blog a few stats from their data:
92% of riders felt very safe or extremely safe during the ride
For 95% of riders, this was the first time taking a self-driving ride
One rider has taken 14 self-driving rides
Of course, this information is self-reported, and let’s face it–who wouldn’t enjoy getting shuttled around in a BMW rather than a Prius? But the comments from riders on Twitter seem to support Lyft’s data, which customers provide after their ride is complete.
In response to a request for Aptiv stories, one Twitter user wrote, “Absolutely, crazy experience last year and looking forward to my next trip during my visit in September,” and posted a couple photos of the car ride followed by several emojis. More telling may be the absence of self-driving Lyft horror stories.
However, there may be some confusion about some of the benefits of self-driving taxis. One rider equated autonomous vehicles with improving climate change. “We absolutely loved our autonomous ride. Thank you for doing what you’re doing to help reduce the carbon footprint and increase safety!”
While many self-driving test vehicles use hybrids and electric vehicles as technology platforms, so do human-driven taxis. Either way, all vehicles consume energy that has to come from somewhere, and taking the driver out of the equation doesn’t do much to reduce energy-consuming trips. There are definite cost saving benefits for operating companies such as Lyft by forgoing a driver, but if people are looking to AVs to stave off climate change, they’d be better off taking mass transit.
This content was originally published here.