Tech in CRE

Flying cars are coming–what does that mean for building development?

October 18, 2017

As a kid, how did you envision the future? Was it like the Jetson family in their opening theme, soaring through the sky from their gravity-defying home to school and work? If so, with age you surely came to realize that those floating buildings and the family’s flying transportation were both impossibilities.

But the impossible is now on its way: flying cars are in development and will soon be a reality.

Flying cars are in the works

In early September, Dubai’s Roads and Transport Authority signed an agreement with a German start-up called Volocopter to test pilotless air taxis starting as soon as this year. Additionally, French aircraft company Airbus plans to test a prototype air taxi called Vahana by the end of this year and introduce a finished product by 2020.

And in the United States, in February of this year, Uber brought on NASA chief technologist Mark Moore to work on Project Elevate, which they call “the future of on-demand urban air transportation.” Uber plans to have 50 air taxis ready for use by the year 2023––just six years from now. Believe it or not, the Uber of the sky won’t be too expensive for everyday use. Moore claims that an Uber air taxi pool with three or four passengers could cost the same as an UberX today.

For air taxis to be useful for longer than three minutes at a time, there will need to be serious improvements in batteries and engines in the coming years, but Moore is confident those changes will come.

What transportation could look like in 10 years or less

In addition to the latest development in air taxis, we’ve also previously talked about how the hyperloop and driverless cars will affect the future of transportation.

  • With driverless cars, traffic jams and human driving error will be eradicated, making car travel more efficient and ensuring all passengers, pedestrians and bicyclists are safer on the road.
  • The hyperloop, an underground high-speed train-like system that can travel up to 800 miles per hour, is currently in development all over the world. Imagine getting from New York City to Washington D.C. in just 20 minutes. Soon, that will be possible.

Even just one of these advancements in transportation would have a major impact on our lives, but together, getting from place to place will be totally different than it is today.

What faster underground, ground level and sky transportation will mean for CRE

Once air taxis are perfected and they join the future transportation ranks of driverless cars on the road and the hyperloop underground, commercial real estate will see the effects.

First, once travel is safer and faster than we can even imagine today, location will become a completely obsolete concern for buyers, investors and property tenants. As a broker, your network will broaden into new cities, states and possibly even countries.

And for developers, buildings will need to be built with all new transportation concerns in mind. For example, aircraft landing areas will be critical for all buildings, perhaps even on multiple floors, for drop offs and deliveries. There will also be new safety concerns and potential regulations for developers to keep in mind to help flying cars navigate around tall buildings.

If you’re interested in learning more about the future of transportation and its impact on CRE, subscribe to the Buildout blog.

You might also like