Driveless taxi cabs are set to be introduced into the UK a lot sooner than we thought.
While the idea of driverless cars being the norm in the UK might be quite far away in the eyes of the average UK citizen, it seems that some of the biggest names in the world of lift-hailing – such as Uber and Lyft – feel that driverless taxi cabs in the US may be with us a lot sooner than we might think.
Ride-hailing company Lyft, for example, have recently stated that they expect that the majority of the rides it provides to customers in the US will be given using self-driving vehicles within 5 years’ time.
Lyft’s 5-year autonomous plan
The 5-year prediction wasn’t just spoken on a whim either. No, Lyft co-founder John Zimmer instead laid out a three phase 5-year plan in order to achieve his goal.
The first phase of the plan would come into effect in just two years’ time, with self-driving cars providing rides to Lyft users along fixed routes only.
The second phase of the plan would involve self-driving vehicles navigating any route – not just set routes – but the cars would travel at a maximum speed of 25 miles an hour. This would likely only make them useful for shorter journeys.
Lyft would then expect phase three to come into effect in 2021, which would see the majority – if not all – rides being provided by autonomous vehicles.
With driverless cars revolutionising the ride-hailing and taxi market, Lyft co-founder John Zimmer also expects there to be a steep decline in private car ownership in UK cities after this 5-year period, as the use of the company’s service will make regular ride-hailing more economical than owning a car outright, at least in major cities.
Uber also mapping UK roads
Other recent news showed that Lyft are not the only ride-hailing company in the race to get driverless cars on the road, not just in the US but in the UK too, with lift-sharing firm Uber revealing that it has begun mapping UK roads, seemingly with the long-term intention of being the first company to get driverless cars on the road in order to expand its business opportunities.
While the company has been reliant up to now upon services such as Google Maps in achieving this goal, the race to be the first to bring driverless cars to the road may well bring Uber into direct competition with Google, as Google has been trying for some time now to win this particular race.
So, if you thought that the idea of driverless taxis and cabs on UK or US roads was at least a decade or more away from becoming a reality, then it seems that you may have to think again.
With one of the biggest companies in the world, Google, now being pushed by smaller yet well-equipped and experienced companies, autonomous vehicles may be taking you to and from work or to the airport and back a lot sooner than you originally thought, perhaps even within just a few years.
Main Image Source