Gizmodo is reporting that shared ride companies are gunning for self-driving cars to hit the streets but they don’t want just anyone to be able to access them. In fact, in a recent “pledge” signed by the likes of Uber and Lyft, 15 different transportation companies appear to collectively call “dibs” on the technology.
The document titled “Shared Mobility Principles for Livable Cities” is being hailed by Wired as “10 Commandments for Making Future Cities More Livable,” and yet others aren’t quite so keen on the suggestions contained within – specifically point #10, which says that autonomous vehicles should only be operated in dense urban areas by shared fleets.
The reasoning, says the document, is that shared fleets can “provide more affordable access to all.” The shared ride services also contend that their oversight will maximize safety, emissions and maintenance, and “actualize the promise of reductions in vehicles” in line with efforts to reduce the urban use of cars and the need for parking. So Uber and Lyft plan to reduce the number of cars by not allowing you to buy them?
Gizmodo’s take on this pledge, which it refers to as slimy, is interesting, and all but accuses the companies of attempting to create a monopoly in order to charge more for access to autonomous vehicles.
Whether this actually gets anywhere remains to be seen, but there would have to be a lot of legislative and industry buy-in. Automakers who have been toiling for years towards a goal of autonomous vehicles on America’s roadways would lose an insane amount of leverage if they could sell to only a handful of fleets in major cities, rather than to consumers at large.