Lyft Believes Self-Driving Cars Coming Sooner Than You Think

by Ben Pena September 21, 2016, 1:10
Lyft Believes Self-Driving Cars Coming Sooner Than You Think

Last week, Uber offered self-driving auto rides in Pittsburgh on a limited basis.

Lyft started its self-driving vehicle prospects back in January when it got an investment of $500 million from General Motors through which both the companies agreed to build self-driving cars together.

But the Lyft CEO didn't stop there. According to him, the end of private auto ownership will change urban landscapes for the better and an autonomous vehicle Lyft network will be easier on people's pockets and provide them with more flexibility.

Calling automobiles "a $9,000 ball and chain that gets dragged through our daily life", Zimmer said the future of ride-hailing is all about new drivers who don't want the "monthly auto payments, searching for parking, buying fuel, and dealing with repairs" that accompany private vehicle ownership. In a recently published essay, titled "The Road Ahead", Zimmer made the claim that the majority of Lyft rides will be in autonomous vehicles by 2021.

The executive disagrees with Tesla CEO Elon Musk's forecast that the transition to autonomous vehicles will be driven by private auto owners who rent their autonomous cars to others. It won't just be enough to have autonomous cars that can only drive when there's no rain and on streets where they can only go up to 25 m.p.h.

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Lyft cited the cost of owning and maintaining a vehicle in the United States today as a critical variable. A recent death involving a driver that was using Tesla's Autopilot mode has prompted an investigation into the overall safety of autonomous technology and there could be rule changes in the pipeline as a result. "Until then, over the next five to 10 years there will be both driver and driverless cars on the road, which we call a hybrid network", affirmed Zimmer. John Zimmer writes that he has loved cars ever since getting introduced to Hot Wheels as a 3-year old. Tesla's new Master Plan, published in July, details ride sharing through private ownership once full autonomy is on the auto market.

Zimmer makes clear that he doesn't think cars themselves are the problem, but how we use them, with the amount of time they remain parked rather than in use being incredibly inefficient.

Their main competitor, Uber is now collaborating with Volvo.

But Zimmer, who appeared on NBC's Today show on Sunday morning, wants to get the point across that it's time now to focus on how autonomous cars will change the world around them, with unneeded parking spots freeing up space for parks, pedestrians and new places for people to connect.

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