September 18, 2016

Most of Lyft cars will be autonomous in just 5 years and private car ownership will all but end by 2025

We have built our communities entirely around cars. And for the most part, we’ve built them for cars that aren’t even moving. The average vehicle is used only 4% of the time and parked the other 96%.

Lyft’s Vision for the Next Ten Years and Beyond is provided by Lyft co-founder John Zimmer at Medium.com.



Imagine for a minute, what our world could look like if we found a way to take most of these cars off the road. It would be a world with less traffic and less pollution. It could be a world built around people and not cars.

The coming revolution will be defined by three key shifts:

1. Autonomous vehicle fleets will quickly become widespread and will account for the majority of Lyft rides within 5 years.
Last January, Lyft announced a partnership with General Motors to launch an on-demand network of autonomous vehicles. If you live in San Francisco or Phoenix, you may have seen these cars on the road, and within five years a fully autonomous fleet of cars will provide the majority of Lyft rides across the country.

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. It will be both more practical and appealing to access autonomous vehicles when they are part of Lyft’s networked fleet.

2. By 2025, private car ownership will all-but end in major U.S. cities.

As a country, we’ve long celebrated cars as symbols of freedom and identity. But for many people — especially millennials — this doesn’t ring true. We see car ownership as a burden that is costing the average American $9,000 every year. The car has actually become more like a $9,000 ball and chain that gets dragged through our daily life. Owning a car means monthly car payments, searching for parking, buying fuel, and dealing with repairs.


3. As a result, cities’ physical environment will change more than we’ve ever experienced in our lifetimes.

Americans spend more than $2 trillion every year on car ownership — more money than we spend on food. What’s even more staggering is that for all the money we spend on them, the 250 million cars in America are only occupied 4% of the time. That’s the equivalent of 240 million of the 250 million cars being parked at all times

In 2011, researchers estimated that there are at least 700 million parking spaces in the U.S. That means our country has more than 6,000 square miles of parking — bigger than my home state of Connecticut.

Hypothetically, Lyft could initially have a fleet of autonomous cars that completes rides under 25 miles per hour on flat, dry roads. Then, we could upgrade the fleet to handle rides under those same conditions, but at 35 miles per hour. And so on and so on, until every kind of trip can be completed by an autonomous car.

Rise and fall of rideshare drivers



Some people assume that the introduction of autonomous vehicles will mean human drivers are no longer needed. We believe that in the first five or more years following the introduction of autonomous vehicles, the need for human drivers will actually increase, not decrease. How is that possible? Rides in autonomous vehicles will be less expensive than any options today and will lead to more people using Lyft for more and more of their transportation needs. As people rely on Lyft for more of their transportation, they are more likely to live car-free. And as more people trade their keys for Lyft, the overall market will grow dramatically. When autonomous cars can only solve a portion of those trips, more Lyft drivers will be needed to provide service to the growing market of former car owners.

SOURCES- Medium, Lyft Zimmer

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