Why The End Is Near For Car Ownership
There is an increasing realization that human error accounts for roughly 90% of road accidents. This statistic, championed by far-reaching technological advances, foretell of an impending driverless car revolution. This discussion is not about replacing all owned cars completely but about a state where autonomous vehicles could become a prominent part of our transportation system.
Private Car Ownership a Thing of the Past
Lyft co-founder and president John Zimmer made a bold prediction that private car ownership in US cities will virtually disappear by 2025.
Zimmer's post on Medium titled "The Third Transportation Revolution" woke people up to the fact that autonomous vehicle fleets will soon be hitting our roads. But it's his long-term view that is currently dominating headlines.
Over the next 5-10 years, Zimmer foresees a hybrid road network. Once the subscription model reduces the increasing costs of fuel, maintenance, parking, and insurance, he believes Lyft will be able to offer a better service at a lower cost that will disincentivize private car ownership.
Lyft's subscription model prophecy differs from Tesla's predictions of the future. Tesla CEO Elon Musk claims that it will be the autonomous car owners who will be renting their vehicles to others, rather than a third party such as Lyft.
Lyft in the Now
Here in 2016, Lyft has immediate challenges to overcome. The ride-sharing app is still lagging behind Uber. Worth mention is the fact that Lyft's prophesy came a few days after Uber picked up passengers with self-driving test cars in Pittsburgh. Whether the post is a PR move or not, both companies appear to agree that a subscription-based self-driving future is on the horizon.
The Big Picture
Anyone who has test driven a Tesla will tell that it feels like the line between reality and sci-fi is blurred.
Once costs begin to drop, it isn't difficult to picture a pay-per-mile plan or unlimited miles option similar to the way you now choose your smartphone contract.
Plus, it seems that millennials simply do not care as much about owning a car.
Advertisers have long promoted the car as a symbol of freedom and personal identity. Just you and the open road, when the reality of life is you spend an average of $9,000 a year driving just 4% of the time (source: Morgan Stanley research) to be stuck in traffic and a weekly visit to the supermarket. Morgan Stanley's research also reveals that of the 1 billion or so worldwide cars driven