While experts agree that it is unlikely 100% of the platforms’ fleets will ever become autonomous, the start of the tests signals that robotaxis will be here faster than many have assumed. Asad Hussain, a senior analyst at venture data group Pitchbook who covers the autonomous vehicle industry, said that by 2030, it not before, self-driving Ubers and Lyfts would start to become more common.
“The big value add here is that you don’t have to pay the labor cost of a human driver,” Hussain said. “…You’re reducing the cost of transportation, but on the flip side, what happens to drivers is a really important question.”
The pressure to automate has, if anything, become more intense, he said, now that companies are facing higher wages, a trend that has coincided with a shortage of drivers amid the pandemic.