Of all the things that could change the face of real estate in the next thirty years, who would think that something from the imaginings of H.G. Wells would be at the forefront? Leading the way, without anyone at the helm, are driverless cars. As crazy as it may sound, many in the industry think that this new mode of transporting people from point “A” to point “B” is what will drive the trends in real estate in the coming years.
The concept of an infrastructure populated by automated vehicles has been fast becoming a reality as technology has advanced over the last few decades. A report by the real estate firm Transwestern details the possible implications of technology pushing humans out of the driver’s seat.
“While there are valid concerns about safety, security, government regulation and the potential resistance to give up private cars, the billions of dollars invested by domestic and foreign automakers, countless engineering and design firms, and giant technology conglomerates have made autonomous vehicles a reality,” Jamie Mahoney, research analyst with Transwestern, said in a prepared statement.
While concerns about safety and the shifting of needs like parking space (and the types of space) are at the top of the list, developers see opportunity for growth and profit because of this emerging market change. One signpost has been a major investment by companies like BMW Group, Mobileye, and Intel in Delphi’s autonomous driving platform to the tune of $15.3 billion dollars.
“There are already examples of real estate owners and developers making design decisions to facilitate future property modifications,” Mahoney said, “They will not make sweeping changes overnight, but instead focus on the need to balance today’s requirements with enough flexibility to adjust to future shifts in demand. The sheer volume of dollars being spent on AV research and development—and the companies involved—makes this is conversation that real estate decision makers need to have.”