An interesting development has brought together two competing giants. Uber and Lyft are working together to carve up the US autonomous vehicle market for themselves. After Uber destroyed taxi companies around the nation, with Lyft following in its shadows, the two rideshare giants will not assure themselves of a competition free future. Competition-free you ask? Yes, while Uber and Lyft do vie for the US market, they prefer to compete against each other and not allow any third rideshare company come in and steal their income. How can this be done in such an open market?
Easy! Enough money to buy the hill and you will create a new regulatory system that will stop any competitor from rising above the local level. The two companies came together and created the "shared mobility principles for livable cities." The initiative, which outlines a number of issues that should benefit society. However, the 10th initiative is "autonomous vehicles in dense urban areas should be operated only in shared fleets." This means that Uber and Lyft are trying to stop the automakers such as GM, and AV tech companies such as Waymo from starting out on their own. Only rideshare companies or large fleet companies (which happen to be only Uber and Lyft, since public & bus services and taxi companies are not "shared" fleets) can operate autonomous vehicles in the future.
In their joint statement, Uber and Lyft agreed that "Due to the transformational potential of autonomous vehicle technology, it is critical that all AVs are part of shared fleets, well-regulated, and zero emission." This would "maximize public safety" while also ensuring "that maintenance and software upgrades are managed by professionals."
OK, understood, however, what about non-shared fleets such as Greyhound buses or taxi apps such as Gett, or large car makers such as GM? Why can't these companies manage AV's?
Personally, I don't think paragraph 10 will hold its place, but when lobbying and the deep pocket lining is the name of the game in DC, anything can accidentally be left in place and thereby creating a future for AV's that is totally Uber and Lyft.