Automotive

Lyft's John Zimmer shares his vision for autonomous transportation future

Lyft co-founder John Zimmer believes the rise of ride-sharing and autonomous vehicles will change the physical environments of our cities
Lyft co-founder John Zimmer believes the rise of ride-sharing and autonomous vehicles will change the physical environments of our cities
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Lyft co-founder John Zimmer believes the rise of ride-sharing and autonomous vehicles will change the physical environments of our cities
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Lyft co-founder John Zimmer believes the rise of ride-sharing and autonomous vehicles will change the physical environments of our cities
ZImmer says the majority of Lyft's rides will be delivered by autonomous vehicles within five years
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ZImmer says the majority of Lyft's rides will be delivered by autonomous vehicles within five years
From 10 years time, Zimmer believes that autonomous vehicles will not even require a person in the driver's seat to take control in the event of a problem
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From 10 years time, Zimmer believes that autonomous vehicles will not even require a person in the driver's seat to take control in the event of a problem

Lyft co-founder John Zimmer has outlined the ride-sharing company's vision for the next 10 years and beyond. Zimmer believes we're on the cusp of a transportation revolution, with the rise of ride-sharing and autonomous vehicles set to change the physical environments of our cities.

Following its partnership with General Motors to launch an on-demand network of autonomous vehicles, ZImmer says the majority of Lyft's rides will be delivered by autonomous vehicles within five years. Indeed, we're already seeing the likes of Uber and NuTonomy testing autonomous ride-sharing vehicles publicly.

Zimmer reasons that the availability of autonomous ride-sharing vehicles below the cost of car ownership will contribute to a move away from outright ownership, as it will be simpler and more affordable to live without a car, while still possible to have access to one when required. With that in mind, his second prediction is that, by 2025, private car ownership in US cities will "all-but end."

Finally, Zimmer predicts that this reduction in car ownership will change the shape of our cities "more than we've ever experienced in our lifetimes," with less space and infrastructure required to accommodate cars. For example, he argues that there will be fewer cars sitting parked and empty and therefore less need for parking spaces.

Zimmer makes clear that he doesn't think cars themselves are the problem, but how we use them, with the amount of time they remain parked rather than in use being incredibly inefficient. He points out, though, that we no longer have to own many products in order to enjoy their benefits, with DVD ownership having been made unnecessary by streaming services like Netflix and owning music by services like Spotify.

In a similar way, Zimmer says that it is now possible to offer "Transportation as a Service," with ride-sharing firms able to provide all the access to cars that many people will need at a cost kept down in part by the eventual lack of need for a driver. Where someone is currently required to sit behind the wheel of self-driving cars, Zimmer believes that 10 years from now autonomous vehicles will not even require a person in the driver's seat to take control in the event of a problem.

Ultimately, he says these changes will give us the opportunity to create more people-focused cities. Less space required for cars, he argues, will allow us to widen sidewalks and construct new housing, businesses and parks on parking lots, with subsequent implications on global economics, health, social equality, the environment, and overall quality of life.

Source: John Zimmer

1 comment
Calson
We already changed our cities starting after World War II when a cabal that included GM, Firestone, and Standard Oil, created companies to buy up all the electric trolley car lines across the country and convert them to diesel buses while tearing out the rails and giving up the rights of way. As a result more than 50% of the space that comprises our cities is paved and used for motor vehicle traffic and for parking and storage of vehicles. Autonomous vehicles do not restore our cities to a pre motor vehicle state nor does switching from petro chemicals to electricity to power our vehicles really address the problem. We need to return our cities and towns and neighborhoods to viable living environments for people. Spend time in European cities and you will find entire areas where only bicycles or people on foot are allowed. No competing with noisy and smelly polluting cars and trucks. Contrast that to American freeways that go to shopping mall parking lots where people vie for the closest parking spaces. Contrast as well the shape of people in Europe with that of rotund Americans who spend so much of their time sitting in cars with their fast food meals and snacks and sugar water beverages.
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