Are you prepared for an America where #automated fleets of vehicles rule the roads and private car ownership is a thing of the past? This is our transportation destiny, according to #lyft co-founder, John Zimmer. On Sunday, he posted his vision of the future, "The Third Transportation Revolution," to "Medium." In the document, he makes some bold predictions about how the nature of transportation will change in the coming years.

Introducing The Automated Network

Some of these predictions, like Lyft switching to autonomous vehicles for its service, seem almost inevitable. From the get-go, making a play to cut drivers out of the equation was an obvious move for all of the major ridesharing outfits.

Advertisements
Advertisements

Using an autonomous fleet lets them "maximize utilization." This means that they can precisely manage every aspect of their vehicles to "provide a better value and a superior experience to customers," and, of course, optimize their earnings in the process. The timetable he put on this milestone, five years, might raise some eyebrows, but overall, the idea appears solid.

Zimmer's second prediction, that private car ownership is coming to an end in major cities, is undoubtedly more shocking. By his own admission, having a car is symbolic of American ideals like freedom and individuality. What could disrupt the longstanding tradition of owning (or at least aspiring to own) a car? Zimmer breaks it down as an issue of straightforward economics. Owning a car is expensive. The younger generation is financially burdened.

Advertisements

Hence, he reasons, fewer of them will own cars, and will turn to automated vehicle networks to handle their transportation needs.

He goes on to provide some statistics to support his claims, breaking down why personal car ownership is inefficient and how killing off private ownership will allow for a cascade of ancillary benefits. Zimmer even takes and opportunity to plug a potential Lyft subscription service that would enable users to make use of their forthcoming network of automated cars for less than the average annual cost of owning an automobile.

Automated Cars Are Coming

Regardless of your thoughts on how it would all play out (there are plenty of reasons to be skeptical), the message itself is clear: automated cars are coming, and a great many proponents are pushing for it. #Uber, Lyft's chief rideshare competitor, just began testing self-driving taxis in Pittsburgh. The electric car manufacturer Tesla is continuing to refine their autonomous vehicle technology, in spite of some recent setbacks.

Other large car companies, like GM, Ford, VW, and BMW, are also exploring autonomous features for their vehicles. With that much weight behind it, the idea of the self-driving car appears as if it was fated to become a reality. Whether the forces angling for an automated future will achieve success with the speed that Zimmer predicts, however, is another question altogether.