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Lyft’s self-driving vehicles return to Las Vegas

Updated October 22, 2020 - 1:47 pm

Autonomous Lyft rides are returning to the Las Vegas Strip.

Motional in partnership with Lyft is bringing back the self-driving rides in autonomous BMW 5 series vehicles after halting the service amid the COVID-19 pandemic.

Motional, a driverless technology company, is a joint venture between Aptiv and the Hyundai Motor Group that formed in August.

The service relaunches with enhanced safety and cleaning measures in place to ensure the passengers and safety driver are not exposed to possible virus transmission.

“We’ve put extensive measures in place to keep our fleet thoroughly and frequently sanitized, and our passengers safe and healthy,” said Karl Iagnemma, president and CEO of Motional. “We’re thrilled to bring the fleet back, and very proud of its place in history. It’s the longest-standing service of its kind, responsible for introducing self-driving cars to hundreds of thousands of people.”

The protective measures include a partition between the front and rear seats, vehicle operators wearing personal protective equipment, and vehicle sanitization at the start of each shift, the end of each day, and between rides.

“In these turbulent times, it’s energizing to see the continued innovation made by both Motional and Lyft as we push toward delivering self-driving cars at scale,” said Nadeem Sheikh, vice president of autonomous vehicle programs at Lyft. “Getting this fleet back up and running is a significant jumping-off point as we prepare to launch a robust set of new features for our self-driving cars.”

Since the service launched under Aptiv’s name in 2018 there have been over 100,000 paid rides, with 98 percent of customers giving the service a five-star rating.

Rides are provided in BMW 5 Series vehicles equipped with sensors, radar, GPS antennas and other technology allowing for autonomous driving. A safety driver is along for every ride to ensure safety, and the vehicles aren’t allowed to operate in self-driving mode while on private property, such as dropping off or picking up passengers at Strip resorts.

Passengers can book an autonomous ride via the Lyft app by choosing a Motional car in the menu when in the resort corridor.

Contact Mick Akers at makers@reviewjournal.com or 702-387-2920. Follow @mickakers on Twitter.

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