Lyft’s vision for an on-demand network of self-driving cars will mean fewer cars on the road

Lyft, an American ride-hailing service, announced on Monday that General Motors has invested $500 million in the company, and the companies together plan to develop a network of autonomous vehicles.

USA (Next Media) – Lyft, an American ride-hailing service, announced on Monday that General Motors has invested $500 million in the company, and the companies together plan to develop a network of autonomous vehicles.

From the proposed plan, self-driving cars would reach American consumers through a ride-sharing service first rather than through individual ownership.

According to a study by IHS Automotive, car ownership in the United States has crept to nearly 258 million vehicles as of 2015. Lyft and General Motors hope to change this through an on-demand network of self-driving cars.

Forbes cites a Harvard Health Watch study that says the average American drives almost two hours a day. Even if self-driving cars takes up to half a day for maintenance and to recharge, that still gives users 12 hours a day to use one vehicle — enough time for six Americans to use the car. If six people can use one car, this means the 258 million vehicles on the road could potentially be reduced to around 43 million, or one-sixth of 258 million.

The approximately 258 million vehicles registered in the United States are not all owned by different individuals. Some people own more than one car, which means the number of hours cars are left sitting idle is probably even greater.

Reuters reports that the two companies haven’t set out a deadline for when the on-demand network would be available to consumers, but would immediately offer Lyft users short term rentals of GM cars.

SOURCES: The New York Times, Reuters, IHS Automotive, Wired, Forbes