Lyft has bold predictions for self-driving cars by 2021

Most proponents of self-driving cars cite benefits to driver and passenger safety and traffic decongestion as some of the biggest benefits of the technology, which continues to face tough opposition, especially after a series of accidents attributed, properly or not, to autonomous driving technologies. Lyft, however, is trying to appeal to a slightly different side of the same coin: economy and ecology. It so strongly believes in the self-driving future that it predicts that by 2021, majority of Lyft rides will be on self-driving cars. Even more, by 2025, private car ownership in the US will be no more. At least almost.

At first glance, it almost sounds counter-intuitive for Lyft to bank on self-driving cars, considering it runs a ridesharing business. But earlier this year, it partnered with GM to produce a fleet of fully autonomous cars that it believes will provide majority of its rides in five years. Most likely displacing human employees in the process.

In addition to the traffic benefits, Lyft co-founder John Zimmer also tries to paint a picture filled with more spaces for parks and people instead of parking lots and cars. He also paints a picture of a future were people save more money annually by not owning a car. Yes, Lyft's future vision is driven by a fleet of self-driving cars, owned by Lyft and not by individuals. In doing so, Zimmer is also challenging Elon Musk's predictions on how the future will instead be more about "car sharing" self-driving vehicles privately owned by individuals.

All of this, Zimmer says, will happen in five to nine years, which is a rather bold prediction to make. While the idea of self-driving cars has indeed gained more traction in the automotive industry, it is still hampered by legislation and general public skepticism.

Perhaps even more unlikely are the chances of private ownership of cars dwindling down to almost none by 2025, even if in the US alone, considering it remains one of the biggest automotive markets in the world.

SOURCE: John Zimmer