Lyft has been offering its customers in Las Vegas rides in self-driving cars since the start of the year. The self-driving cars are prototypes from automotive supplier Aptiv and feature a safety driver behind the wheel at all times, and at present they can reach about 20 destinations around Las Vegas.
While the program is still only a trial, more than 5,000 Lyft customers have gone for a ride in one of Aptiv's self-driving cars. And Lyft's product lead for self-driving cars, Jody Kelman, told Reuters in an interview published Tuesday that both companies “are making money on this.” Customers currently pay the same fare they would with a human doing the driver.
Aptiv has a fleet of 75 self-driving cars testing in Las Vegas and 20 of these are being used to ferry members of the public via Lyft. Aptiv got a boost in the self-driving car race last year when it acquired Boston-based nuTonomy, which in 2016 became the first company to offer rides to the public in a self-driving car.
Lyft is developing its own self-driving technology but is thought to be behind firms such as Alphabet Inc.'s Waymo and the major automakers in this space.
Waymo looks to be in the lead as it plans to offer later this year the first commercial service for self-driving cars on a non-trial basis. The service is expected to operate across 100 square miles of Phoenix, Arizona and will be expanded to more U.S. cities in the near future.