So exciting: I could have taken a self-driving Lyft in Vegas

Estimated read time: 3 minutes



I was in Las Vegas for IMEX America in 2018 and have to say I was highly excited by my modes of ground transportation.

First, Caesars sent a stretch limo to pick me up from the airport. It was just me. No luggage even.Then on the way back to LAS I had a black car. Fancy. #Appreciated

On trips that last 2-3 days – like this one I usually just travel with my oversized laptop bag. That allows me to pack a suit, 2-3 dress shirts and underwear. I wear sweat pants and hoodie usually while traveling to be comfortable.

I spent much of my time at the conference but also needed to head to another hotel to record a testimonial video with my iPhone for Meetings Live events. To get there we called a Lyft – which doesn’t sound that exciting, but it was!


My podcasts recorded at IMEX:

How extending a runway helped bring events to Hilton Head Island

Planning a successful event with AI


Before that happened though, I was greeted with the announcement that I might get a matched with a self-driving Lyft. As long as I accepted the liability waiver.

Here’s how the welcome screen looks:

Interestingly, the self-driving vehicles have two safety operators in them! So no sitting in the front, for those of you who like to ride shotgun. In North America, it’s usually the norm that people hop in the back.

I have to admit I was kind of giddy. Oh, yes, click accept. I can’t wait. But I had to: 3 minutes!


What to expect, per Lyft:

TWO SAFETY OPERATORS UP FRONT

Each ride has a safety driver and operator sitting up front to monitor the vehicle and provide any assistance. That means we can fit 3 people 

Using a customized suite of technology, these vehicles have fewer blind spots and can see as far as two football fields away


I had to wait and then realized that my app was telling me that I wasn’t getting a self-driving car, but a regular one. Ugh.

“I was kind of hoping for the self-driving car,” I said as I was getting in!

“Yea, I’ve seen that drive around, but it has two people up front,” – said the driver.

Anyway, I was in a regular 5-star Lyft. Also, on the way back. It’s all good, but innovation interests me and I want to try it. A self-driving Lyft is one example.


Virtual reality is another example top of my radar. I’ve tried it and am trying to get ahead of, but it’s hard and the adoption is still somewhat limited.

Previous coverage on virtual reality

How to stand out with VR

VR can earn 100 percent of attention!

How do you even share a VR headset?


The Lyft ride in Vegas: I’m not sure the person I was traveling with was as excited about the potential as I was, but I was wondering what it would be like. So for now, if you are considering driving Uber or Lyft on the side, do it now! The companies are working on having fewer drivers potentially!

Interestingly, today Uber and Lyft don’t really own vehicles, which the drivers own and use to drive as contractors. So, while self-driving cars certainly could eliminate the need to pay drivers, first the rideshare companies will have to buy cars, which don’t come that cheap. You’ll have to give a lot of self-driving car rides to make up for the cost it cost to build is, is my guess.

So we’ll likely see people-driven Lyfts for a while yet. But the potential of innovation is great, of course, the technology will also have to overcome that people expect it to be perfect.