Lyft announced that it has officially reached the 5,000 ride mark in its self-driving car venture with Aptiv. Currently, the service only operates in Las Vegas, Nevada, but Lyft wants to expand it in the near future. To that end, Lyft is currently encouraging customers in Las Vegas who decide to take a self-driving Aptiv ride to give the company feedback on their experiences. The response thus far has been “overwhelmingly positive”, according to Lyft. The company made sure to point out that customers have stated that they felt comfortable during their rides, and many were surprised at the technological marvel of the whole experience.
To put numbers to the response that Lyft experienced, 96% of customers who took an autonomous ride in a Lyft Aptiv vehicle said that they wanted to eventually ride again. 20% of passengers actually did so, with some coming back for multiple rides. On average, passengers rated their autonomous rides 4.96 out of 5 stars. To be clear, this means that a small number of riders may have experienced some real issues. Lyft’s deactivation number for drivers is a 4.6 rating, so people tend to rate Lyft rides at 5 stars as a base and deduct for issues, rather than only rating the best rides with 5 stars. Even so, achieving a rating like that over the course of 5,000 rides, given how the populace at large tends to feel about self-driving cars, is certainly impressive.
The ridesharing industry as a whole seems to be moving in the direction of depending on self-driving cars. Lyft signed a deal with Google-owned Waymo a while back, but that may manifest in another form later on. The company’s deal with Aptiv, meanwhile, started at CES and became a full-time affair in Las Vegas back in May. Lyft’s direct competitor, Uber, is actually scaling operations back due to a fatal crash in Arizona not long ago, giving Lyft a chance to seize the upper hand. Being the first to mass market with a self-driving taxi solution will build valuable consumer mindshare that may well be insurmountable, depending on just how much clout is built up and who’s trying to challenge it. Uber could spring back into action, or either Lyft or Waymo could begin expanding at just about any time. That’s to say nothing of the countless other players waiting in the wings. The first strike in the larger and longer-term self-driving taxi game could come from just about anybody at this point.