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Lyft puts 30 self-driving cars to work in Las Vegas

And they're open to the public.
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If you're in Las Vegas, you can now experience what it feels like to ride in a self-driving car: Lyft has announced that it's unleashing 30 autonomous vehicles in the city. The ride-hailing company piloted its autonomous ride-sharing vehicles late last year in Boston and gave rides to people attending the Computer Electronics Show (CES) in Las Vegas back in January. Unlike its trial at CES, though, the 30 vehicles part of this expansion is open to the public -- and yes, you can hail them like you would any other car through its app. You'll have to opt in to get the chance to ride one, though, so don't worry if you don't quite trust the technology yet.

The vehicles Lyft used during CES were BMWs powered by autonomous technology developed by Pittsburgh-based connected car solutions company Aptiv. They were equipped with nine LiDARs, 10 radars, a trifocal camera, vehicle-to-infrastructure data about stop lights and differential GPS. Chances are, they're deploying the same vehicles for this multiyear agreement. And that's not a bad thing -- we found that they were able to handle Las Vegas' erratic traffic well when we took a ride on one back in January.

Like the vehicles that shuttled people during CES, though, the 30 vehicles part of this testing program can only take you to and from high-demand locations. It'll take a while before the company can fully launch a self-driving network -- for now, it has to conduct more experiments to gather more data. As Aptiv chief Kevin Clark said in a statement: "...More importantly, the resulting knowledge and data [from this test] will allow us to further refine our autonomous driving capabilities and strengthen our portfolio of industry-leading active safety solutions."

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