Not one to be outdone by Uber Technologies, Lyft announced its plans for the next five years and it involves self-driving service cars and the end of private car ownership in major cities in 2025.
Lyft said that it has partnered with General Motors, which has previously invested $500 million in the company, and is testing an on-demand network of self-driving vehicles in Phoenix and San Francisco.
In an article on Medium, Lyft’s co-founder John Zimmer made his bold predictions about the future of the self-driving vehicles, a future that could mean more IT jobs because of the technological requirements to keep these cars on the road.
In the post, Zimmer said that millennials are not that interested in owning their own vehicle because of the financial burden that comes with it and believes that this will drive autonomous service vehicle fleets as well as ridesharing services. He also explained that changes in the choice of transportation of commuters will directly impact the city’s physical environment, for example the need for fewer parking spaces because there will be fewer privately owned cars.
“So why should you care about changes in transportation? Even if you don’t care about cars — even if you never step into a Lyft or an autonomous vehicle — these changes are going to transform your life,” Zimmer said. “Because transportation doesn’t just impact how we get from place to place. It shapes what those places look like, and the lives of the people who live there.”
Zimmer sees the third transportation revolution happening because of the shift to transportation-as-a-service heralded by ridesharing services such as Lyft.
Transportation-as-a-service also opens more opportunities to earn and save such as a pay-as-you-go plan if you don’t travel that often, or an unlimited mileage package if you often go on trips, or a premium package that gives you access to high-end vehicles perfect for Saturday night outs.
Self-Driving cars — the future of IT?
But self-driving vehicles are not the autonomous “self-aware” scenario that some people have drawn up in their minds. These vehicles are composed of complex, interconnected systems that collect, transmit, and process vast amounts of data both locally and through a network. The computer industry is always on the lookout for a next boom cycle and it appears that autonomous vehicles are the future bet at the moment. Heavy on big data, analytics, robust networks, and information systems, autonomous vehicles are one potential future for a market that has shown signs of weariness in the smartphone and interconnected devices fields. With this innovation, entire interconnected industries can be expected to follow: in-car entertainment, maintenance, monitoring, and other applications quickly come to mind.
Photo credit: Lyft