Trends in Technology

Self-Driving BMW You Can Take Around CES

January 26, 2018 by Bobby J Davidson
Read similar articles in: Cool Technology

Self driving BMW Lyft—an on-demand transportation company based in San Francisco, has partnered with the global automotive parts technology company Aptiv, to take people around Las Vegas in a self-driving BMW 5 Series during CES 2018. The rides will be completely driverless and the cars will travel to twenty preprogrammed destinations. Here is more on it!

Though Aptiv—formerly known as Delphi, has previously given rides in its self-driving cars, the CES 2018 will be the first time the rides aren’t contained in one specific drive loop. During CES 2018, the rides in the driverless cars will be to twenty different destinations in Las Vegas. People visiting the CES 2018 will be able to request for a ride in one of the self-driving BMW 5 Series cars from the Las Vegas Convention Center to the twenty preprogrammed destinations using the Lyft app.

To avail the ride, you will have to go through an exhibit that talks about the benefits of self-driving cars. However, this is a small price to pay for a ride that you may get to experience only once in your lifetime. While self-driving cars have been on exhibit at the event for a few years now, CES 2018 is the first time ever that attendees will be offered rides in these cars.

A Once in a Lifetime Experience

How many times have you been driven around town by a driverless car? Unless you’re employed by a company that manufactures driverless cars, the answer is likely to be zero. However, CES 2018 offers people an opportunity to avail the once in a lifetime experience of riding in a self-driving car. Aptiv and Lyft has joined hands to offer rides around Las Vegas in driverless cars during CES 2018.

Though they the rides will be self-driven, there will be a safety driver behind the wheel in case the car is faced with a situation it does not have the ability to handle. Additionally, the cars have been preprogrammed to travel to only twenty destinations around Vegas. Nonetheless, this is a significant new development as generally companies at CES exhibit their self-driving cars in closed parking lots and completely control the experience in them.

Aptiv and Lyft have taken a big risk by offering people attending CES 2018 rides in their driverless cars. However, it is also a bold step that could completely change how people travel in the future. During the CES 2018 held between January 9 and 12, passengers for the rides will be picked up from the Gold Lot at the Las Vegas Convention Center.

A fleet of 8 BMW 5 Series sedans equipped with Aptiv’s automated driving technology will conduct the rides. Passengers will need to attend a brief lecture about the benefits of automated driving before they’re allowed to ride in a driverless BMW 5 series. In addition to a driver behind the wheel, the BMWs will have a ‘car-host’ who will explain the car’s functions to the passengers. Aptiv believes that the above initiative taken by the company will exhibit how automated cars can benefit the lives of individuals and communities.

Things You Will Notice in the Self-driving BMW 5 Series Cars

If you attend the CES 2018 and catch of glimpse of the driverless BMW on display by Aptiv, the first thing that you will probably notice is that the car does not have any bulky cameras or LiDAR sensors. A car free of all that, Aptiv’s self-driving BMW is mysteriously smooth. Additionally, Aptiv claims that the car has more tech than what catches the eye. Better yet, the company believes the system could be scaled for production by 2019.

For over three years, Aptiv has been demonstrating its self-driving cars at the Consumer Electronics Show (CES). In 2016, the company partnered with Mobileye—a vision technology company founded in Israel and recently acquired by Intel, to exhibit its latest autonomous capabilities on a course that stretches over six miles and goes through the heart of Las Vegas. The drive included testing maneuvers such as a tunnel, congested streets with cyclists and pedestrians and highway merges.

The years the company has spent mapping Las Vegas’ intersections and streets and gathering data related to the infamous traffic congestion of the city is the reason why Aptiv, and not the other companies enabling self-driving cars, have been chosen by Lyft for the demonstration at CES 2018. Recently, the company has equipping a range of vehicles with lots of sensors and its software stack.

Aptiv’s engineering and program management VP James Ziselman has revealed that the driverless vehicles enabled by the company are equipped with twenty-one sensors including ten radars, nine lidar, and two front cameras—with one camera built for traffic recognition and other being a tri-focal i.e. a camera with three different focal points.

Since there are times when one sensor says something and the other doesn’t, all the incoming data is fused. To enable decision-making, the data passes through an algorithm and some artificial intelligence.

Self-Driving Shuttles Will Also Feature in Vegas During CES

The self-driving BMW cars by Aptiv and Lyft won’t be the only vehicles you see on the roads of Vegas during CES 2018. The city’s roads will also play host to self-driving shuttles jointly operated by Navya—a French tech company, and Kelios—a transit firm based in Boston. While they may not roam the streets of Vegas during CES, several other autonomous vehicles will be on display at the consumer electronics show this year.

It is not every day that you get to ride in a self-driving car. For this reason, riding in one of driverless BMW’s at CES 2018 is an opportunity that you just cannot afford to miss.

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