The Fuse

This Week in AVs: Ford Submits AV Safety Report, Lyft/Aptiv Hit AV Testing Milestone, and More

by Alex Adams | @alexjhadams | August 24, 2018

New SAFE Study Shows TNCs Benefiting Middle Class and Non-Urban Households

For-hire service ridership rates more than tripled in non-urban households.

SAFE recently released analysis assessing the impacts of Transportation Network Companies (TNCs) such as Uber, Lyft, and Via on urban and rural communities. Based on the National Household Travel Survey, the analysis found that TNCs have improved transportation access for middle and lower-income families—there has been a 3-fold ridership increase in for-hire vehicles since 2009 from households earning between $25,000 and $50,000. For-hire service ridership rates more than tripled in non-urban households. This points to an unmet need for access to affordable and reliable transportation in these communities. Since AVs will likely be deployed initially in ridesharing service fleets, the technology could allow underserved communities to see even greater access to cheap, reliable, and safe mobility.

Increasing Focus on Fleet Management as AV Operations Expand

An in-depth, behind-the-scenes study of the day-to-day operations required for the smooth running of Waymo’s AV fleet in Arizona, published this week, detailed the work required for the preparation and operation of its Early Riders program. While the daily routine calls for morning sensor calibrations and software checks, fleet management is one of the more time-consuming tasks for Waymo’s Arizona team. As AVs proliferate, the management of AV fleets are likely to create greater demand for fleet managers, as highlighted in SAFE’s recent AV study, America’s Workforce and the Self-Driving Future.

Ford Submits AV Safety Report

Last week, Ford became the third company to submit a voluntary safety self-assessment report to NHTSA for the AVs it is developing. Waymo and General Motors were the first two technology developers to submit their reports. Ford’s report, titled “A Matter of Trust,” includes information intended to help educate the public, policymakers, and regulators about the state and safety of their technology. Ford also stated that it expects its autonomous car service to launch “at scale” by 2021.

Lyft, Aptiv Hit AV Testing Milestone in Sin City

Lyft has completed more than 5,000 self-driving rides through its ride-hailing app, as it seeks to burnish its credentials as a serious competitor in the AV transit space. Launched in January in Las Vegas, the service allows passengers to ride an autonomous BMW running on an AV system built by Aptiv between 20 different pick-up and destination spots. The Lyft milestone is reached as other companies begin to explore the commercial possibilities of AVs. Kroger has teamed up with Nuro to trial the use of AVs to deliver groceries in Scottsdale, AZ. Same-day or next-day delivery will cost $5.95 per delivery and will use an autonomous Toyota Prius until Nuro’s custom R1 delivery vehicle is ready. This pilot is an attempt to use AV technology for a business model outside personal transportation, so it will be watched closely as an indicator of consumer interest for alternative AV uses.