Lyft Inc co-founder and president John Zimmer believes that your days of driving are about to end within just a few short years and driverless vehicles will soon rule major highways. He called out Tesla Motors Inc (NASDAQ:TSLA) CEO Elon Musk for thinking that the future of autonomous driving will depend on private ownership. Zimmer said Musk’s prediction would not fly because private car owners are wary of renting out their vehicles to strangers.
In a 14-page manifesto, the president of the privately held American transportation network company gave a glimpse of Lyft’s future, “If you think of yourself as the consumer, I can offer you 10 different vehicle types on the Lyft platform. They all have amazing Virgin America cabins-slash-beautiful hospitality experience inside. There’s the private version if you want to do work on your ride, there’s the sleeper car if you want to take a nap, there’s the entertainment car if your friends and family want to watch movies, there’s the bar car to have fun with other people on your ride home.”
Zimmer claimed that soon, people who have no cars have the choice to use Lyft vehicles, freeing consumers from the usual hassles that come from maintaining a vehicle – such as maintenance, cleaning and parking.
The executive also took a swipe at Musk, saying, “Elon is right but the transition to an autonomous future will not occur primarily through individually owned cars.” Zimmer’s predictions came just as Uber announced the testing of its self-driving vehicles in California.
Zimmer added that the ride-sharing service would go completely autonomous in five years. He also said private car ownership would end the same way DVDs ended by the year 2015. He calls the transition the “third transportation revolution.”
He described automobiles as “a $9,000 ball and chain that gets dragged through our daily life,” outlining common issues that motorists deal with every day to maintain a car. Zimmer explained that Lyft has started empowering those who do not own a car and that it will be practical for motorists to access self-driving vehicles that are a part of Lyft’s networked fleet.
Despite lagging behind Uber, Lyft drivers have given 14.6 rides on average each month through August this year.
General Motors (NYSE:GM) recently struck a$500 million deal with Lyft that would allow the ride sharing service to develop its own autonomous vehicle network. In the past, GM expressed interest in acquiring the ride sharing company for a cool $6 billion and that other companies, including Google (NASDAQ:GOOGL) and Apple (NASDAQ:AAPL), are also in talks to buy out Lyft.
Lyft has begun testing self-driving vehicles in Arizona and San Francisco. The agreement also offers better terms to lease electric cars from GM to reduce gasoline consumption on service vehicles.
Zimmer admitted that the road to absolute autonomous driving won’t be easy and there will be a lot of issues to iron out, including the ownership of self-driving cars as well as state and federal government regulations on autonomous driving.