Lyft’s president says ‘majority’ of rides will be in self-driving cars by 2021

The Verge:

Lyft President and co-founder John Zimmer released a 14-page document today in which he predicts that by 2021, “a majority” of rides on its network will be in autonomous vehicles. Also by 2025, Zimmer says personal car ownership in US cities will be a thing of the past.

The end of car ownership will change cities in “huge ways,” he said, echoing those experts and academics that predict streets and parking lots will be transformed into housing and open spaces with the mass adoption of autonomous vehicles. It will also change the daily experience of riding in a car, he said.

I think this is an (understandably) overly optimistic timeline. I don’t think the obstacles – personal, financial, infrastructure, governmental – will be cleared as fast as he seems to believe. Although, as a motorcyclist, self-driving and therefore theoretically safer cars are something I want as soon as possible.

  • rick gregory

    Whenever someone says idiotic things like car ownership is going away I look at the thousands of cars taking ad hoc trips on the weekend or in the middle of the day and I laugh. There only way that will happen is if Lyft etc is cheaper than owning a car and just as convenient. Last I checked it was significantly more per mile.

    • Mo

      Assuming incumbents’ lobbyists don’t seek to prevent it, Lyft, Uber, Tesla, Google, someone else, or all of the above will eventually be able to provide options that are both cheaper than owning a car and just as convenient. Assuming you don’t equate “convenience” with “having the privilege of always seeing a car in my driveway that I only use a few hours per week.” This can’t come soon enough for me.

      • rick gregory

        You can do that now. What I dislike here is the arrogant assumption that your attitude is the correct one and others are idiots. Stop that.

        • He said no such thing. Didn’t intimate it. He in no way, shape or form said anything even remotely like what you are saying. Please keep the discussion to things posters actually said, not what you assume they said. Thank you.

          • rick gregory

            “Assuming you don’t equate “convenience” with “having the privilege of always seeing a car in my driveway that I only use a few hours per week.””

            Yes, he did Shawn. That statement implies that people who view cars as being convenient some how are being irrational or that the argument has no real merit.

          • You’re reading far too much into what he writes. You thinking you know what he “implies” is impossible. The solution is simple – ask the poster, “did you mean to say this….” Rather than assuming you know their implication and basing your argument on things they didn’t actually say.

  • Mo

    Car ownership is overrated by people who equate it with personal autonomy. I’ll be very happy to see a situation in which I can, instead of having to pay the continuing cost of insurance and maintenance, pay a subscriber fee to have access to a car when I need one, whether or not it is self-driving.

    • GS

      Just like owning music, I sort of don’t care anymore. I get much more out of the subscription model. Perhaps cars will be the same. Many people don’t even realize exactly what the real cost of the car(s) in the driveway.. I’d rather use the garage for an art studio anyway. Motorcycle riders may be the exception, and the roads would probably be less hazardous for them without all those other idiots on the road.

      • fuchsdh

        If the roads are filled with self-driving cars, the only idiots on the road making things hazardous would be the motorcyclists.

        • Idiots? Why are motorcycle riders in your scenario idiots? And how would they be making things hazardous?

          • GlennC777

            As a life-long motorcyclists myself, I can’t deny that a hell of a lot of the idiots on the road seem to be on motorcycles. It’s frankly embarrassing.

      • Absolutely. I haven’t owned a car in ten years and would love to “subscribe” to one but you can have my motorcycle when you pry it from my cold, dead hands. 🙂

    • rick gregory

      It depends where you live. For example, I decided I wanted to make some fresh tomato sauce and went to the farmer’s market 2 miles from me. Too far to walk in a reasonable time, so I got in my car and.. drive. Cars DO give you personal autonomy in the way that most other options do not. It’s less important in a neighborhood where you could, in fact, walk to the store or hop on the subway, etc.

      • “It depends where you live.” Yes, it does. As the article stated, “Zimmer says personal car ownership in US cities…” No one is saying the situation is the same for those in suburban or rural areas.

        • GlennC777

          Yes, true. Although even in cities, it’s usually only the relatively small centers where it’s practical to live without a car in the US. Most “cities” are really agglomerations of extended industrial, semi-urban and suburban landscapes with perhaps a few small areas where a person’s needs can be reasonably met within walking distance.

  • GlennC777

    This discussion always seems to be split between people who don’t see the big deal and would just as soon hire a car as-needed; and those who appreciate the personal mobility and freedom offered by a car and don’t want to give it up.

    The subtext is often that the latter group is the more provincial.

    I disagree, and actually think the former group is in the (rather trendy) minority.

    My belief is that the love of personal mobility and individual freedom of motion is deeply human and expresses itself in every culture, has done so throughout history and will continue to do so in the future.

    As kids we love to run and jump. We learn to swim and love to dive into the water and move around freely in it, unconstrained by the usual limits of motion on land. Our ancestors domesticated horses and those who rode likewise relished the release of constraints. The dream of flying is universal, and often quite literal.

    Cars, under our individual control, are simply the common modern expression of this universal human desire. Until an alternative comes along, or until the current alternative is eliminated, people will still choose to own and drive their own cars, simply because they can. The inconvenience pales, for most ordinary people, in comparison to the benefits.

    This all goes for motorcycles as well, of course, and also for smaller mopeds, scooters and the like. My point is that the distinction between individual personal mobility and the lack thereof is what’s important, not so much its mechanism.