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Lyft President John Zimmer Is Going All-In on Self-Driving Cars

"Car ownership as we know it will change."

Vjeran Pavic for Re/code

Lyft doesn’t want to build self-driving cars — but it might be making the software that powers them.

Company president John Zimmer wouldn’t officially say as much, grinning and no-commenting when questioned by Kara Swisher on the latest episode of “Re/code Decode. But he did make it clear that both he and fellow co-founder/CEO Logan Green see autonomous vehicles as a vital part of Lyft’s future, coming on the heels of a $500 million investment from GM.

“Car ownership as we know it will change,” Zimmer said. “The promise of car ownership of the past, the freedom of open roads … the reality has been more of a burden.”

Vjeran Pavic for Re/code

He also discussed the new strategic partnership with GM, regulatory challenges in Europe and competition with Lyft’s bigger rival, Uber. He dismissed the idea that Uber will win the day because it is perceived to be the more aggressive player in the transportation startup world.

“We’ve been around for half the amount of time,” Zimmer said. “At the same point in history, our valuation is higher, our scale is higher and we’re gaining share.”

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Peter Kafka will be in this space on Thursday to talk to Gawker’s Nick Denton. Kara will be back on Monday to talk to Eric Weiner, the author of “The Geography of Genius.”

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