In the transition from human-operated cars to driverless ones, there will be a hybrid phase where self-driving cars are monitored by human drivers, he says.
Ironically, over the next five years, in the first stage of that transition, Zimmer predicts a greater need for human drivers at Lyft. That's because he expects more Americans to give up their cars, increasing demand for the ride-hailing service. Eventually, he says autonomous car technology will get to the point where human operators are not necessary.
Of course, the vision of dramatically declining individual car ownership has an obvious business benefit for Zimmer, but it's idealistic, too. He hopes to decrease the space devoted to parking, since individually owned cars spend the majority of their time parked.
"Next time you walk outside, pay really close attention to the space around you. Look at how much land is devoted to cars — and nothing else," says Zimmer.
"Most of us have grown up in cities built around the automobile, but imagine for a minute, what our world could look like if we found a way to take most of these cars off the road. It would be a world with less traffic and less pollution."