Lyft Says Robots Will Drive Most of Its Cars in Five Years

Lyft -- trying to keep up with its longtime ride-hailing competitor Uber, which just rolled out a self-driving pilot in Pittsburgh -- is being more explicit about what company president John Zimmer has dubbed the "third transportation revolution."

Zimmer laid out that plan in a Medium post published today, titled "The Third Transportation Revolution: Lyft's Vision for the Next Ten Years and Beyond."

In the post, he described efforts to roll out self-driving cars in three phases, the first of which will likely be available by 2017. In that phase, semi-autonomous cars will be made available to Lyft users, but will only drive along fixed routes that the technology is guaranteed to be able to navigate.

This plan comes after nearly a year after Lyft began its foray into the future of transportation in January 2016 -- General Motors invested $500 million in the company in exchange for a 10 percent stake and an agreement to build a network of self-driving cars together.

In the second phase, the self-driving cars in the fleet will navigate more than just the fixed routes, but will only drive up to 25 miles per hour. As the technology matures and the software encounters more complex environments, Zimmer wrote, cars will get faster.

The third phase, which according to the graph the company expects to be sometime in 2021 or 2022, will be when all Lyft rides will be completed by a fully autonomous car. Shortly after that phase begins, car ownership will see a steep dropoff, according to Zimmer. Zimmer, who has long been a vocal proponent of ending car ownership, set a date for the death of the personally owned car in major U.S. cities: 2025.

Zimmer's argument in short: People won't own cars, they'll just use Lyft.

While Zimmer is setting these lofty goals, it's still unclear whether GM...

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