Lyft says self-driving cars won’t replace job of driver

by SpeedLux

Think of hailing a Lyft car through the app and a driverless vehicle pertains to choose you up. Now imagine it chooses another guest, then a 3rd, all of them complete strangers.

That might be the future of ride-hailing and carpooling, but that’s a future Lyft is still a bit uncertain about.

“When [self-driving vehicle technology] becomes readily available and more commonly adopted, I believe that’ll work for Lyft Line and I believe that’ll work for Lyft,” Rob Farmer, a Lyft product manager, informed Business Insider. “We have a really strong team here who is purchasing that as part of our collaboration with General Motors.”

But what Farmer questions is what that experience would really be like for passengers. With no motorist, exactly what are the expectations? What’s the etiquette? And how would self-driving vehicles change Lyft’s focus on community-building and the driver-rider relationship?

“If you enter a robot-driven car and there are other individuals there, it’s a bit strange due to the fact that you feel like one of you has to play host,” Farmer said. “I think that’s a different experience than entering your own ride by yourself where you can just zone out. So I’m very interested in what that’ll do to the community element of sharing a ride.”

Farmer does not deal with Lyft’s autonomous team – he’s involved in building Lyft Line – however he said he thinks self-driving automobiles are just a piece of exactly what Lyft will be in the future.

Among the huge concerns surrounding ride-hailing companies building self-driving vehicles is what it would imply for drivers’ tasks.

Uber CEO Travis Kalanick recently stated that the company’s self-driving vehicles will produce more jobs, not remove them. Kalanick says that some Uber vehicles will still need a human at the wheel for challenging geographical scenarios.

This is a sentiment Lyft echoes, but for a somewhat various reason.

“There’s never going to be a circumstance where there won’t be motorists, I believe,” Farmer said. “I delay to the future and exactly what that will turn out to be, however drivers are a truly huge part of our experience and it’s something that we desire to focus on as well. In the meantime, we are extremely delighted to have drivers and passengers connecting together.”

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