In America today, rideshare services like Lyft and Uber are parts of everyday life. Both services are available nationwide and used by people in need of transportation.
These days, Lyft and Uber users even have the luxuries of adding multiple stops on trips or ordering rides in advance. This provides riders with a lot of flexibility, while ensuring that drivers have moneymaking opportunities as well.
As the free market evolves, successful companies will have to grow along with it. Over the years, a major part of the free market has involved the integration of artificial intelligence.
Lyft is now taking a step in this direction in working to make its vehicles more autonomous, as documented by Fox Business.
A Closer Look at Changes Coming to Lyft
At this time, Lyft is in the middle of creating vehicles that are able to take riders on trips by themselves, without the need for human drivers.
This was personally confirmed by Lyft co-founder John Zimmer. However, Zimmer also reiterated that autonomous vehicles of this nature will only account for 5% of rides with Lyft. This means 95% of Lyft rides will still be carried out by human drivers.
Lyft Co-Founder and President John Zimmer talked to @JimCramer about the potential for integrating autonomous driving with its platform, calling it a "huge opportunity" pic.twitter.com/aF0vYdlRUh
— Mad Money On CNBC (@MadMoneyOnCNBC) June 7, 2022
As it turns out, the rideshare company is also partnering with Motional in order to create a robotaxi service that can operate independently of human drivers. This is supposed to occur next year, specifically in Las Vegas, Nevada.
According to Zimmer, Lyft’s seen its amount of drivers increase by 40% annually. However, with high gas prices across the nation, Lyft had to hit riders with a modest surcharge in order to avoid high levels of drivers quitting the company.
Lyft implemented this surcharge after some drivers chose to stop offering their services, owing to the costs of gas.
Backlash Against Autonomous Lyft Vehicles
The news of Lyft working to create vehicles that can conduct rides independently of human drivers hasn’t gone over well with everyone.
Some people worry about the long-term impacts this will have on people who drive for Lyft in order to pay bills or otherwise make a living. This falls into greater debates about automation and whether or not its impacts on society are truly positive or negative.
We're a solid 10 million jobs short in the trades… Electricians, plumbers, industrial mechanics. These are jobs that can't be automated. With population growth slowing and reversing in our lifetimes, we're going to need automation because we won't have the workforce we need
— Bad at MTB (@MtbBad) February 24, 2021
Some people have argued automation will actually make workers’ jobs easier and less stressful. Others fear automation will end up taking jobs away from people who are most in need of them.
Multiple companies outside of Lyft have been taking various steps towards automation as well. This is especially true for businesses that find themselves struggling with labor shortages.
What do you think about Lyft’s plan to introduce more autonomous vehicles? Let us know in the comments area below if you think automation is a positive step forward or a threat to people’s livelihoods.