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Self-Driving Cars Coming to Las Vegas

Like it or not, self-driving cars are being deployed in Las Vegas.

Aptiv, a tech company specializing in mobility and programming, announced Wednesday that it will launch a fleet of 30 autonomous BMWs in Southern Nevada via Lyft's ride-hailing app by the end of 2018. The cars will be accompanied by operators to collect data and analyze the vehicle's performance.

The self-driving vehicles originally debuted at the Consumer Electronics Show in January and traveled throughout the city. Aptiv claims the cars are equipped with three types of sensors; LiDAR, radar and vision, which allegedly create a 360-degree view of safety when combined with "AD algorithms, sensor fusion and computer platform."

In March, a woman was hit and killed in Tempe, Arizona when an Uber self-driving car failed to stop when she was crossing the street with her bicycle. Uber temporarily stopped testing all self-driving vehicles as a result of that incident, but it appears Aptiv plans to conduct similar testing to that of Uber here in Southern Nevada.

Self-driving technology presents several legal and economic hurdles.

First, if a self-driving auto causes an accident, there is no driver to be held responsible. Thus, the manufacturer, rather than a traditional insurance company, would be liable under a theory of product liability. Because of this, legal claims for injuries resulting from such incidents would become much more difficult to pursue.

Second, driving is one of the most common professions in the United States. Many people have benefited from operating their vehicles for companies such as Uber and Lyft, and many people in Southern Nevada earn their livelihood by operating motor vehicles. Should self-driving technology become advanced enough, such jobs could be eliminated.