From teenagers going to the mall to a senior citizen heading to the grocery store, everyone these days is using ride-hailing services like Uber and Lyft. While the technology has greatly benefited those with limited mobility, some who are visually impaired often have issues accessing ride-hailing services.Lyft is looking to change that by way of self-driving vehicles.
The company has teamed with the National Federation of the Blind to bring Aptiv’s self-driving technology to the blind and low vision rider community in the Las Vegas area. Lyft will also include a braille map of the rider’s route, as well as a diagram of Aptiv’s self-driving vehicle.
Dublin, Ireland based Aptiv has been testing their self-driving technology all over the globe for the past few years. Back in 2015, the company completed the longest automated vehicle drive ever – traveling nearly 3,400 miles from San Francisco to New York City, with 99 percent of the drive in fully automated mode.
Lyft Making Ride Hailing Service More Accessible
Lyft has been working with the National Federation of the Blind for the past few years. The company has made its app more accessible for those with disabilities while also helping to educate drivers about riders who may have different needs. Lyft has also updated its policy regarding service animals to provide clear instructions for drivers so they can offer welcoming and comfortable rides to blind and low vision passengers.
“We are pleased to collaborate with Lyft and Aptiv, companies that recognize the importance of incorporating input from the blind so that driving will be accessible to all. This demonstration will allow future blind drivers to experience and begin providing feedback about this technology, paving the way for the development of a nonvisual user interface and other inclusive design elements,” said Mark Riccobono, President of the National Federation of the Blind.
Over 50,000 Self-Driving Lyft Rides in Las Vegas Since 2018
Lyft and Aptiv have provided over 50,000 self-driving rides in the Las Vegas area since the partnership began in May 2018. This makes it the largest commercial self-driving program in the US. So far customers have given the self-driving ride-hailing high marks with an average rating of 4.97 out of 5 stars.
“Together with Aptiv and the National Federation of the Blind, we’re showcasing first-hand how self-driving vehicles, and the technology powering them, has the potential to enhance transportation solutions for those who have traditionally faced barriers to mobility,” Lyft said in a blog posting.