SXSW 2015

Lyft's CEO On the Future, Driverless Cars and Ridesharing

Lyft's CEO On the Future, Driverless Cars and Ridesharing
Image credit: REUTERS | Laura Buckman
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Transportation’s future was a hot topic at SXSW this year, with companies announcing plans for cars that flew and ones that drive themselves across the country. In his keynote, Lyft co-founder and CEO Logan Green spoke about the how technologies like those might change everything from how we travel to ridesharing itself. Here are some of his insights on the future.

Everyone will drive less…
Although driverless cars won't immediately change Lyft's current model, he acknowledges that the industry is about to undergo massive changes. "We will see the current technology rapidly improve and evolve so people have to intervene [with their driving] less and less," he said.

Lyft drivers might disappear.
Green acknowledged technology’s impact on ridesharing could be massive. All Lyft drivers would lose their jobs, for instance, but they wouldn’t be alone. "If you look back [150 years ago], 80% of the economy was employed in agriculture. Economies shift." He believes the change will be gradual enough for the population to adjust, with the new technology creating new jobs to replace those rendered obsolete. He says he hopes Lyft could help make the shift as positive as possible.

Related: SXSW: Self-Driving Audi to Make First Coast-to-Coast U.S. Drive

The concept of ‘driving’ will transform
Green says he doesn’t see most people will own a self-driving car, but they’ll certainly ride in them. "When [cars are] fully autonomous, the majority of people will hit a button on an app and request a self-driving car to take them wherever they want to go." At the proper scale, he explains, this system could be far cheaper and more convenient that traditional car ownership.

Related: Mercedes' Self-Driving Car Says Hello to San Francisco

Cities will adjust and transform
Just as cars changed the face of cities in the 20th century, self-driving cars will change them in the 21st. He explains that Los Angeles currently dedicates 50% of its space to automobiles, with four parking spaces for every one car. With ride-sharing dominating the transportation industry, city infrastructure could rely less on parking lots and extra lanes. Says Green, "That will lead to the most radical reinventing of cities that we see in our lifetime."

Related: Apple Studies Self-Driving Car, Auto Industry Source Says