Uber and Lyft want you banned from using your own self-driving car in urban areas

  • TECH
  • Tuesday, 06 Feb 2018

An illuminated Lyft Inc. sign is seen on the dashboard of a ride share vehicle at Los Angeles International Airport (LAX) in Los Angeles, California, U.S., on Monday, Nov. 13, 2017. Lyft Inc. has gained significant ground on its rival, Uber Technologies Inc., and is expected to grab more market share in the U.S., according to a private Lyft investor document obtained by Bloomberg. Photographer: Patrick T. Fallon/Bloomberg

The rabble can't be trusted with self-driving cars, and only companies operating fleets of them should be able to use them in dense urban areas. 

So say Uber and Lyft, as signatories to a new list of transportation goals developed by a group of international non-governmental organisations and titled "Shared Mobility Principles for Livable Cities." 

Long-considered a futuristic dream, self-driving cars are quickly moving toward widespread deployment, with many companies testing them on California public roads and Google spin-off Waymo planning to launch public ride-sharing with self-driving minivans in Phoenix this year. 

In the list of 10 shared-mobility principles, bland generalities predominate – "stakeholder engagement" for example, is considered important – but the groups responsible clearly saved the best for last: According to Principle No. 10, the signatories – which also include other companies involved in transportation as a service – agree that autonomous vehicles in "dense urban areas" should only be operated in fleets. 

In language reminiscent of the Second Amendment, Principle No. 10 says it's "critical" that all self-driving vehicles are "part of shared fleets, well-regulated, and zero emission." 

Here's why you, dear reader, ought not to be allowed to toodle around downtown San Francisco or central San Jose (or probably anywhere in between if the ride-hailing giants had their druthers) in your own self-driving car, according to Principle No. 10: 

"Shared fleets can provide more affordable access to all, maximise public safety and emissions benefits, ensure that maintenance and software upgrades are managed by professionals." — The San Jose Mercury News/Tribune News Service

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