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TnLounge Forum / Technology Market / Lyft president John Zimmer predicts rise of driverless cars (1 Post | 365 Views)
Lyft president John Zimmer predicts rise of driverless cars @ 12:29 am
On Sep 21, 2016
The co-founder of ride-hailing firm Lyft has predicted that car ownership in major cities will die out almost completely by 2025.
Setting out his vision for the future of transport, John Zimmer predicted drivers would ditch their cars as networks of driverless vehicles become cheaper and more efficient.
Mr Zimmer also predicted that self-driving cars would provide the majority of his firm's journeys in the US within five years.
Lyft is already testing driverless cars on the streets of San Francisco and Phoenix in partnership with General Motors, while its rival Uber is starting to carry passengers around Pittsburgh in autonomous cars with a human backup driver.
In a Medium blog post, Mr Zimmer wrote: "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, dealing with repairs.
"Ridesharing has already begun to empower many people to live without owning a car. The age of young people with driver's licences has been steadily decreasing ever since right around when I was born.
"All told, a millennial today is 30% less likely to buy a car than someone from the previous generation.
"Every year, more and more people are concluding that it is simpler and more affordable to live without a car.
"And when networked autonomous vehicles come onto the scene, below the cost of car ownership, most city-dwellers will stop using a personal car altogether."
The Lyft president predicted that self-driving cars would initially offer rides at low speeds of around 25mph, with restrictions based on factors like the weather.
"As technology improves, these cars will be able to drive themselves in more and more situations."
Mr Zimmer said the move away from personal car ownership would help cities cope with population growth, freeing up parking spaces for development as parks or housing.
Automation expert Timothy Carone, a professor at Notre Dame University, said the timescale suggested by the Lyft boss may be overly ambitious.
He predicted operators in remote locations would take control of cars if they ran into situations they could not handle, similar to how the military pilots drones.
"Cars in New York or driving on superhighways can be autonomous but be monitored by someone at an Uber or Lyft centre who can monitor many cars at once," Prof Carone said.
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