Lyft drivers have at least a decade in the future before self-driving takes over.

Ride-sharing company Lyft is working on an autonomous future where passengers are transported to and from their destinations by an autonomous vehicle. However, that doesn’t mean drivers need to worry about job security just yet, as it will be at least a decade before Lyft needs fewer drivers, according to John Zimmer, co-founder and chairman of Lyft.



Since launch, more than 112 million Lyft passengers have taken more than 3 billion rides with the support of 5 million drivers—so talk of autonomy has some drivers wary of what’s to come.

Lyft has completed 100,000 autonomous rides so far, and that number is only growing. Here’s what Zimmer has to say about drivers and the self-employed: “I can’t imagine a time in the next decade when we would need fewer drivers.

It’s possible that a hybrid approach relies on autonomous vehicles and human drivers to help Lyft meet demand. There are concerns that a fully autonomous fleet will be under- or over-supplied, eliminating any cost savings for passengers.

When autonomous vehicles will become more widely marketed is a more difficult time frame:

“I always think there are only a few years left, but it’s very difficult to predict. That’s the last percent of the technical problem, so you have to keep the cost of autonomous vehicles down. Then it will happen. I firmly believe that it is not a question of if, but obviously when.”

Zimmer previously thought that Lyft rides would be autonomous by 2021, and while that goal has apparently not been reached, the company is still pushing ahead with autonomous rides.

This shouldn’t be much of a secret—both Lyft and Uber have been open about their intentions to make the ride-sharing experience autonomous. Plus a handful of other companies vying for a place in a market that will explode in the next few years.

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