Lyft's investment in autonomous driving is starting to pay off as they change gears and leap forward with their real-life testing phase. The company recently received approval from The California Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV) to start testing on California state public roads.
Lyft's image as the good guy's compared to Uber's bad guy routine that has created a strong anti-Uber movement is now going to be challenged by Lyft's driverless car. After all, if Lyft goes driverless, then a lot of Lyft drivers will be jobless.
Our take is that only if autonomous vehicle (AV) owners will "lend" their cars to Lyft will Lyft continue to support part-time driver income. There are in fact only two possible futures for AV and ridesharing; one is that Lyft continues with its business model and allows privately owned AV's to maintain their fleet, or they will have to become fleet owners and thereby become a global taxi service, which sort of defeats the object of ridesharing. Having stated this, let's take a quick look at how the world is evolving around the technology breakthrough that is behind AV's.
GPS positioning is growing stronger as more and more satellites find their way into our stratosphere. AI software is becoming more reliable as algorithms and models develop along with material processing power. The autonomous car will only replace the need for drivers not the need for cars, so the car industry will continue to be strong and will concentrate their efforts on passenger comfort and safety, possibly increasing entertainment technology together with smoothness and silence of rides. This goes hand in hand with electric car manufacturing, where the ride is quiet. The final picture will be the creating a driverless grid where only autonomous cars, buses, vans, and trucks may drive, which will eradicate any human errors as all vehicles will be linked in one big traffic network at all times. This might have sounded like science fiction twenty years ago, but in reality, it is only a few decades away., and according to Lyft and Uber maybe only two to three years away.
Alphabet with Waymo, Uber with Volvo and automakers such as Tesla, Mercedes Benz all investing heavily in this scenario. SoftBank is also autonomous car driven, and their investment portfolio shows that they want to control the global market, or at least have a say in it.
So, Lyft's recent DMV permit is another step in the right direction, as more States start to stand in line for AV driving.