- Dublin, Ireland-based autonomous vehicle (AV) firm Aptiv opened a technical center this week in Las Vegas, a city where it already operates a fleet of self-driving cars in partnership with Lyft.
- The 130,000-square-foot Vegas facility will handle vehicle operations, research and development, data management and technology demonstration, the company said in a statement. Aptiv already has facilities in Boston, Singapore and Pittsburgh.
- Aptiv operates its largest AV fleet in Nevada, where it offers service to more than 1,600 destinations around Las Vegas. Some Aptiv vehicles can also be hailed through Lyft, and Aptiv says more than 25,000 rides have been completed through the partnership.
The new facility will help Las Vegas’ push to become an AV hub. The city was the first in the nation to put an autonomous shuttle on the roads (although it was marred by a minor fender-bender), and has long been adopting connected infrastructure and other smart mobility practices to help manage traffic.
Having a state-of-the-art research and operations facility will help make it more appealing as a testing ground, and could attract more companies and investments to a region with a friendly regulatory environment.
For Aptiv, having a home base in another U.S. city will help it in the race to get a fully-function AV fleet on the roads. Its partnership with Lyft, which it is also running in Boston through subsidiary nuTonomy, has helped push Aptiv technology in front of consumers and rack up valuable test miles. With companies like Waymo rolling out AV taxi services, Aptiv faces tough competition.
Aptiv recently logged more than a million miles of AV driving globally, and the Vegas facility should help expand the company’s reach. In a statement, Aptiv president of autonomous mobility Karl Iagnemma said the new facility “gives us the ability to further advance the efficiency of our operations, gather key commercial AV learnings, and enhance safety operator training.” Iagnemma added that the company is “proud to be setting the stage for future deployments, as we expand to more passengers in more cities around the world."