Lyft president envisions self-driving future beginning in 2021

John Zimmer published a blog post on Sunday detailing how he envisions car ownership will "all but end" in US cities by 2025.
Written by Jake Smith, Contributor on
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Autonomous vehicle fleets will account for the majority of Lyft rides within five years, according to Lyft president John Zimmer.

Zimmer, who leads the ride-sharing startup gunning after market-leader Uber, released a lengthy blog post on Sunday titled "The Third Transportation Revolution: Lyft's Vision for the Next Ten Years and Beyond" and suggested a self-driving revolution is ahead.

"Ridesharing is just the first phase of the movement to end car ownership and reclaim our cities," Zimmer wrote on Medium. "As I mentioned before, the shift to autonomous cars will expand dramatically over the next ten years, transforming transportation into the ultimate subscription service."

Specifically, Zimmer envisions a self-driving future beginning with limited ride testing in 2017 and an autonomous fleet rolling out across the country in 2021. Lyft will make semi-autonomous cars available on fixed routes.

Zimmer didn't detail new partnerships or technology that will make his future happen.

The company has already begun testing autonomous vehicles in a partnership with General Motors, but envisions the autonomous service in more cities.

Instead of a future where we own cars, Lyft's top executive said fleets of autonomous cars will cease private car ownership in major US cities by 2025, helping rid of the $9,000 per year car owners spend on average.

"Tesla CEO Elon Musk believes the transition to autonomous vehicles will happen through a network of autonomous car owners renting their vehicles to others," Zimmer wrote. "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."

Lyft's main competitor Uber made headlines last week when it began running autonomous vehicle tests on roads in Pittsburgh.

An autonomous future may not be too fat-fetched, but how soon it will happen is the lingering question. Several automakers have already announced autonomous vehicle plans, with BMW saying it will launch an all-electric, autonomous vehicle in 2021.

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