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Aptiv, Lyft launch Las Vegas fleet of self-driving cars powered by Pittsburgh tech

Aaron Aupperlee
| Wednesday, May 2, 2018, 11:15 a.m.
A self-driving BMW by Aptiv heads toward the Las Vegas Strip during a ride Sunday, Jan. 7, 2018. Aptiv partnered with Lyft to offer autonomous rides during CES.
Aaron Aupperlee | Tribune-Review
A self-driving BMW by Aptiv heads toward the Las Vegas Strip during a ride Sunday, Jan. 7, 2018. Aptiv partnered with Lyft to offer autonomous rides during CES.
Safety driver Zach Mussey sits behind the wheel of a self-driving car developed by Aptiv. The cars are giving rides throughout Las Vegas during CES.
Aaron Aupperlee | Tribune-Review
Safety driver Zach Mussey sits behind the wheel of a self-driving car developed by Aptiv. The cars are giving rides throughout Las Vegas during CES.

A fleet of self-driving cars developed in Pittsburgh will soon be roaming the streets of Las Vegas.

Aptiv on Thursday is launching 30 self-driving BMWs to offer rides to people using Lyft's app and network, the company announced.

This is the first large-scale deployment of Aptiv's autonomous technology.

Aptiv and Lyft first partnered with Lyft in January to offer self-driving rides in Las Vegas during CES , the massive consumer electronics show held in the city each year. The pair gave more than 400 autonomous rides to locations on the Las Vegas Strip during the week-long conference. Tests continued after CES ended.

People using Lyft's app can opt-in to the self-driving car program and then hail an autonomous vehicle from certain locations around the city. The cars have a trained safety driver behind the wheel to take over if there is a problem and to drive the car on private property, which is the law in Las Vegas.

Aptiv said the partnership with Lyft is a way to generate revenue for the company's self-driving business.

Aptiv spun off from Delphi in 2017 to pursue self-driving and advanced automotive technologies being developed by the company. Delphi established its self-driving presence in Pittsburgh when it bought Ottomatika, a Carnegie Mellon University spin-off company.

The announcement of the Las Vegas program comes at a time when self-driving car companies are figuring out how to proceed in the wake of a fatal crash in March. An autonomous car operated by Uber hit and killed a 49-year-old woman walking her bicycle across a street at night in Tempe, Ariz.

Uber's fleets in Pittsburgh, Tempe, Toronto and San Francisco remain grounded while authorities investigate the crash. Aptiv continued testing. So did Aurora Innovation and Argo AI, both of which test in Pittsburgh.

Aaron Aupperlee is a Tribune-Review staff writer. Reach him at aaupperlee@tribweb.com, 412-336-8448 or via Twitter @tinynotebook.

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