Lyft President and co-founder John Zimmer says a majority of hailed rides will be in autonomous cars, as soon as 2021.
Zimmer made the prediction in a manifesto of sorts titled The Third Transportation Revolution: Lyft’s Vision for the Next Ten Years and Beyond, which you can read here. He also predicts that by as early as 2025, privately-owned cars, at least here in the United States, will be a thing of a past.
Zimmer isn’t the only one in the industry making bold predictions. BMW says it will have a fully autonomous car ready by 2021 and Ford Motor Company [NYSE:F] says it will have a car without a steering wheel or pedals by the same date.
General Motors' Dan Ammann (center) with Lyft's John Zimmer (right) and Logan Green (left)
Lyft is a ride-sharing company similar to Uber but instead of developing its own autonomous car technology it’s partnered with General Motors Company [NYSE:GM]. Together, they plan to introduce a fully autonomous ride-sharing fleet, perhaps as early as 2017.
Their progress is lagging others in the industry. A company by the name of nuTonomy in August became the first to launch an autonomous ride-sharing fleet, a trial service currently underway in Singapore. In mid-September, Uber started a larger program, also on a trial basis, in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. Both services still require a human behind the wheel, to take over in the case of an emergency.
There’s no doubting that fully autonomous cars are an inevitability, and that their proliferation will dramatically change the automotive landscape, but given the massive technological and legal barriers they face it’s highly unlikely we’ll see this revolution take place as fast as some of the proponents are predicting.