With self-driving or autonomous vehicles becoming a bigger deal in recent years, many companies are getting closer to its vehicles being available on public roads. And ride-sharing companies like Lyft are among those. Many are worried that with Lyft and Uber among other ride-sharing companies, moving to self-driving cars, it will mean that it won't need drivers anymore. However, according To Lyft's Director of Product, Taggart Matthiesen – who is in charge of the company's self-driving car arm – that won't be the case.
Matthiesen recently spoke with Recode on its podcast and talked about its future for its drivers. Matthiesen says that drivers "have always been part of our family, they have been core to our service."Matthiesen went on to say that drivers will continue to be a big part of Lyft. But in a different capacity. Matthiesen stated that "technology will give us the opportunity to provide additional services on our platform, whether that is a concierge service, whether that is an in-vehicle experience… these are all things that we will slowly evolve and work with our drivers on."
Now Matthiesen didn't state what kind of services the company may be working on. But a good example is something similar to UberEATS. While the car can be driven by itself, that specific service still needs someone to go into the restaurant and pick up the food then deliver it to the customer. Just because the car is autonomous, doesn't mean all of Lyft's services will be autonomous. So Lyft could see its drivers transition from using their own car to drive people around, to doing other things for Lyft, that could still net a good amount of cash on the side of their existing job, as Lyft does now for a number of users.
The future of autonomous cars is similar to when banks started bringing in ATMs or grocery stores with automated checkouts. Many thought that it would result in less jobs for humans, but instead it compliments humans and their positions, and in some cases it actually brought in more jobs. And it'll be much the same with autonomous cars. Even outside of Lyft's ambitions, these vehicles will need more mechanics looking at these cars, as they will be on the road a lot more. In a sense, autonomous cars could bring a ton more jobs to the industry of ride-sharing.