Lyft Co-Founder: In 5 Years Most Rides Will be in Autonomous Cars

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There’s no denying autonomous cars will eventually become a common sight on American roads. What’s still uncertain, however, is when that will happen. Lyft is just one major player in the effort to launch self-driving cars to the public, and its president John Zimmer predicts his company will see big changes in just five years.

By then, Zimmer claims customers hailing Lyft rides in major U.S. cities will be picked up in a fully autonomous vehicle. He makes the bold prediction in a detailed blog post titled “The Third Transportation Revolution: Lyft’s Vision for the Next Ten Years and Beyond” where he also lays out his vision of a utopian transportation system centered on people and communities, rather than cars.

In addition to big investments in autonomous technology research, Lyft has an ongoing partnership with General Motors to develop driverless cars, and the two companies have reportedly already begun testing self-driving taxis on public roads.

Zimmer also details preliminary subscription plans for Lyft’s self-driving vehicles including a pay-as-you-go plan costing riders a few cents per mile. A plan with unlimited miles will target riders who frequently go on longer treks, while a premium package will allow customers to hail luxury vehicles. Zimmer’s goal with the subscription plan is to ensure it’s cheaper than car ownership, which he claims costs an average of $9,000 annually when accounting for insurance, fuel, parking, and other necessities.

Zimmer makes another bold prediction claiming car ownership “will go the way of the DVD” by the year 2025. He backs that claim up with a number of stats, many of which have been reported on and are slightly sobering for car enthusiasts, including the declining number of teens obtaining a driver’s license.

As the title of his blog suggests, Zimmer believes we’re approaching the “third transportation revolution.” He says the birth of the railroad system in the 19th century ushered in the first revolution, with the second being the automobile. Autonomous ridesharing, he claims, will be the next revolution.

“We don’t have to keep building our country around car ownership,” Zimmer writes. “Technology has redefined entire industries around a simple reality: you no longer need to own a product to enjoy its benefits. With Netflix and streaming services, DVD ownership became obsolete. Spotify has made it unnecessary to own CDs and MP3s. Eventually, we’ll look at owning a car in much the same way.”

Tesla CEO Elon Musk had a similar view when he shared his “Master Plan, Part Deux.” Though Musk doesn’t foresee car ownership necessarily going extinct like the DVD, he does believe car sharing will become even more important in the future, and will help lower ownership costs of autonomous cars.

What do you think of Zimmer’s predictions? Tell us in the comments below.

Source: John Zimmer via Medium

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