Fleets of Automated Vehicles in 2020?
During Carl Eschenback’s talk last Friday, he discussed the major tech trends of the 20th century. In the 1960s it was semiconductors, 1970s systems, and moving forward to the 2010s the mobile boom. The question on his and everyone’s minds is: What’s the next tech trend? My hypothesis is what Lyft’s co-founder, John Zimmer, calls the “The Third Transportation Revolution.”
In Mr. Zimmer’s 2016 Medium post titled by the same name, he describes his view on the future of the transportation industry . He says that the country was originally built with cars in mind. Highways, roads, bridges, etc – all built due to our vehicle usage. But in 2016, only 4% of the time a vehicle is actually in use, and the other 96% of the time it is parked . Our vehicle usage is changing, and we should re-innovate our world to reflect that. He challenges the reader to think of a world built for people, and not for cars. And this world built for people is called “The Third Transportation Revolution.”
“The Third Transportation Revolution” will come to life in 3 key ways according to Mr. Zimmer:
“1) Autonomous vehicle fleets will quickly become widespread and will account for the majority of Lyft rides within 5 years.
2) By 2025, private car ownership will all-but end in major U.S. cities.
3) As a result, cities’ physical environment will change more than we’ve ever experienced in our lifetimes.” 
There’s no doubt in Mr. Zimmer’s mind that automated cars will become a reality. Firstly, he claims that fleets of autonomous vehicles will be crucial to the success of the “Third Transportation Revolution.” Secondly, Zimmer cites this surprising statistic: “In 1983, 92% of 20 to 24-year-olds had driver’s licenses. In 2014 it was just 77%. In 1983, 46% of 16-year-olds had licenses. Today it’s just 24%. All told, a millennial today is 30% less likely to buy a car than someone from the previous generation.”  We are moving towards a future with fewer and fewer cars in it, and we should embrace it. Lastly, due to the rise of autonomous vehicles, the physical environment we live in will change, and hence our lives will dramatically change with it. For example, we will need fewer parking structures, and we can use narrower roads. Cities can be built for people and communities, not for roadways. Zimmer summarizes by saying, “Ridesharing is just the first phase of the movement to end car ownership and reclaim our cities.” I truly can’t wait to see how Lyft will revolutionize the transportation industry, and in consequence our world.
In addition to Lyft, dozens of companies in the Silicon Valley are investing in this technology. Older, more established, companies such as Ford, General Motors, and Volkswagen are developing AI systems for automated vehicles.  Newcomers, such as Tesla, Waymo, and Uber are also disrupting and innovating the field of autonomous vehicles .
Automated vehicles is an exciting field, and I truly hope it will be the next trend we see in 2020!
Also below is an interview by the Lyft president, John Zimmer, on the future of autonomous vehicles and Lyft vs. Uber! Enjoy!
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