Lyft expects self-driving cars to handle most rides by 2021
Lyft co-founder and president John Zimmer expects self-driving cars to account for the majority of the company’s rides within five years.
Within five years, self-driving cars will account for the majority of ride-hailing company Lyft’s rides across the U.S. and, by 2025, private people will stop owning cars, said Lyft co-founder and president John Zimmer in a blog post, in which Zimmer shares his vision for Lyft for the next ten years and beyond. The advent of what he calls the third transportation revolution will also have a massive impact on the design of future cities, making cities people-centric rather than car-centric, he added. “Last January, Lyft announced a partnership with General Motors to launch an on-demand network of autonomous vehicles. If you live in San Francisco or Phoenix, you may have seen these cars on the road, and within five years a fully autonomous fleet of cars will provide the majority of Lyft rides across the country,” Zimmer wrote.
He believes that the transition to autonomous vehicles will happen through networked fleet of self-driving cars managed by providers such as Lyft rather than through private car owners renting their vehicles to others. “Why? For starters, our fleet will provide significantly more consistency and availability than a patchwork of privately owned cars. That kind of program will have a hard time scaling because individual car owners won’t want to rent their cars to strangers. And most importantly, passengers expect clean and well-maintained vehicles, which can be best achieved through Lyft’s fleet operations,” he said.
Zimmer’s vision is in line with recent forecasts on mobility as a service (MaaS). ABI Research expects MaaS revenues to grow rapidly and exceed $1 trillion by 2030. The analyst firm expects Car as a Service (CaaS) to be a defining factor for the success of on-demand mobility.
The end of car ownership
As networked fleet of self-driving cars become more widespread and their usage cost falls below the cost of car ownership, an increasing number of (potential) car owners will stop using a personal car, said Zimmer, who predicts the end of car ownership by 2025. “Ridesharing has already begun to empower many people to live without owning a car. The age of young people with driver’s licenses has been steadily decreasing ever since right around when I was born,” he said, adding that a millennial today is 30 percent less likely to buy a car compared to someone from the previous generation.
John Zimmer is obviously making a case for Lyft’s networked fleet of self-driving cars but considering how little cars are actually used makes the cost of ownership seem even higher indeed. According to Zimmer, U.S. citizens spend more than $2 trillion every year on car ownership but cars are only occupied 4 percent of the time. “That’s the equivalent of 240 million of the 250 million cars being parked at all times. For the most part, your car isn’t actually a driving machine at all. It’s a parking machine,” he said. “Can you imagine a hotel where almost every room is empty? A hotel that spends an enormous amount of money maintaining those empty rooms, no matter how little they’re used? It would go out of business tomorrow. And if you think about occupancy of cars the same way, the observation is simple: America is running a failing transportation business.”
Cities built around people, not cars
Last but not least, the third transportation revolution depicted by John Zimmer is bound to have a considerable impact on city design. Cities have historically been designed around transportation. Going forward, they will be increasingly designed around people as the end of private car ownership will reduce requirements for vast parking facilities, according to Zimmer. There were 700 million parking spaces in the U.S. in 2011, equivalent to more than 6,000 square miles of parking, says Zimmer. “The good news is we don’t have to keep building our country around car ownership. Technology has redefined entire industries around a simple reality: you no longer need to own a product to enjoy its benefits … A full shift to ‘Transportation as a Service’ is finally possible, because for the first time in human history, we have the tools to create a perfectly efficient transportation network.”
IIoT News Recap: Vodafone launches 375 Mbps 4.5G services in Germany; Silicon Controls, Thinxtra to connect 1 million monitoring devices for oil and gas industry to Sigfox IoT network; South African entrepreneurs to build national 4.5G network; Google Maps acquires Urban Engines
Road to 5G: Vodafone launches 375 Mbps 4.5G services in Germany
Vodafone Germany has announced the deployment of 4.5G mobile services in 30 cities across the country by the end of 2016. The 4.5G technology will be supporting speeds of up to 375 Mbps, Vodafone Germany announced (In German). New 4.5G base stations are already live in 22 German cities.
LPWAN: Silicon Controls, Thinxtra to connect 1 million monitoring devices for oil and gas industry to Sigfox IoT network
Sigfox announced Silicon Controls, a provider of tank and cylinder monitoring devices, and Thinxtra, Sigfox’s network operator in Australia and New Zealand, are to connect 1 million monitoring devices to the Sigfox IoT network. The agreement will allow Silicon Controls to offer end-to-end tank and cylinder monitoring solutions. “This collaborative partnership is aimed at reducing the total cost of ownership of contents and usage monitoring, allowing our customers to monitor many more tanks and cylinders than current cellular solutions allow. Sigfox’s network availability today, its global business model, long battery life, equipment and data costs make it the logical first choice in Silicon Controls’ IoT monitoring strategy,” said Mike Neuman, CEO of Silicon Controls.
Road to 5G: South African entrepreneurs to build national 4.5G network
A group of South African telecoms profiles, including former FirstRand co-founder Paul Harris, former FNB CEO Michael Jordaan and Design Indaba CEO Ravi Naidoo, have unveiled plans to build a nationwide 4.5G network in South Africa competing with fiber connections, Business Day reports. The Multisource Group, which acquired WBS, the holding company of the iBurst and Broadlink businesses, with about 400 deployed base stations and existing spectrum assignments in the 1800 MHz and 2,600MHz spectrum bands, is also part of the the new venture.
Analytics: Google Maps acquires Urban Engines
Transportation analytics startup Urban Engines announced it will become part of Alphabet’s Google Maps. Urban Engines gathers and analyzes data from billions of people and vehicle trips to create actionable insights for companies, cities and commuters. “Today, we’re excited to share the next phase of our journey – Urban Engines is now a part of the Google Maps team! Location analytics is an important focus for both Urban Engines and Google, and we’re excited to combine forces to help organizations better understand how the world moves. There’s a lot we look forward to building together, and we can’t wait to show you what’s next,” said Urban Engines in a blog post.