Lyft has a bold future panned out, aiming to eliminate the need to own a car and instead rely on self-driving cars.
Autonomous car technology is on the rise, and plenty of big players are competing in the race. Lyft is one of the contenders, and it just pledged to rock the "third transportation revolution," aiming to disrupt the scene in the next few years.
In less than a decade, Lyft plans to have people so hooked on its self-driving cars that it would nearly abolish private car ownership in major cities across the United States. If Lyft has its way, people would no longer need to own a car anymore. Self-driving cars would make up the majority of rides by 2021 and nearly abolish car ownership by 2025.
Lyft president and cofounder John Zimmer outlined the company's plans on Sunday, detailing what he and Lyft envision for the future of transportation in the United States.
In the company's vision, self-driving cars would not only reduce people's need to own a car but would also reduce the company's reliance on human drivers. For consumers, riding along in self-driving cars rather than taking a ride operated by human drivers for a fee would translate to lower costs and more convenience.
Zimmer also points out that owning a car in the United States currently requires expenses of roughly $9,000 per year, but it's only a matter of years until people shift away from owning a car and instead use ride-hailing services such as Lyft, which will provide self-driving car rides.
"As a country, we've long celebrated cars as symbols of freedom and identity," Zimmer notes. "But for many people — especially millennials — this doesn't ring true."
Back in January of this year, Lyft teamed up with General Motors (GM) to work on self-driving cars and got a $500 million investment from the automaker. Lyft and GM are far from being the only ones in the self-driving car race, with other major companies such as Google and Uber making their own efforts toward autonomous vehicles, but Lyft is confident that it can revolutionize the scene.
Zimmer says that we should have autonomous vehicles on the road within five years. After that, self-driving cars and cars with human drivers will coexist one alongside the other for a while until autonomous vehicles eventually replace human-operated cars. By 2025, Lyft will get rid of its human drivers, according to Zimmer.
This marks a different approach compared to what Elon Musk has in mind for Tesla. While Tesla is building autonomous electric vehicles for people to own and lease out to others, Zimmer says that Lyft will own and operate its own autonomous vehicles.
"Tesla CEO Elon Musk believes the transition to autonomous vehicles will happen through a network of autonomous car owners renting their vehicles to others. Elon is right that a network of vehicles is critical, but the transition to an autonomous future will not occur primarily through individually owned cars," Zimmer points out. "It will be both more practical and appealing to access autonomous vehicles when they are part of Lyft's networked fleet."
It remains to be seen how things will pan out and how Lyft will achieve its goals, especially since there's still a long road ahead both in terms of self-driving car technology and in terms of regulations. Nevertheless, the company seems poised to push further in this area and advance its autonomous tech at a rapid pace.