Tech in CRE

Resource preview: What’s really holding driverless cars back

January 24, 2018

It seems like every company wants to be the first to bring driverless cars to the masses. Google, Apple, Tesla and every major carmaker are all working on their own version of autonomous vehicles. With all this effort and brain power devoted to getting these cars on the road, many people are wondering: when will everyone have access to self-driving cars?

Now, we have to consider what’s really holding technologists and carmakers back.

Driverless car roadblocks

If driverless cars are to truly become prevalent in society, it won’t be the carmakers who lead the charge. First, the public as a whole has to make big changes in these areas:

Local policy
The self-driving car technology is all but ready to go, so now cities have to be able to accommodate them. In individual cities, public works will need to develop special lanes for driverless cars. While all it could take for these designated lanes is a line of paint, it will require action and coordination from local officials, and there will be likely be bureaucratic delays.

Human fear
A recent survey from AAA showed that more than half of people would feel less safe on the road with driverless cars, which could also be a major hindrance to a widespread rollout. But once just one city makes changes to accommodate driverless cars, a few early adopters start to use them and the public witnesses the drop in deaths, there will be a wave of use all over the world soon after.

Why should the CRE industry start preparing now?

While technology and transportation are constantly changing, buildings are forever. Parking lots, garages, driveways and other car-centric property features in public spaces will need to be revamped once driverless cars are in widespread use.

Take, for example, Apple’s new headquarters: the head of the architecture firm responsible regrets the campus’s massive parking garage because driverless cars will soon render it obsolete. Architects and developers all over the country are thinking about this as well. In Boston, Los Angeles and Nashville, buildings are being designed with smaller parking capacities or adaptable and convertible parking garages. As a broker, you too should consider how parking areas can be refurbished in the future, and talk about those changes with your buyers and investors.

If you’re interested in learning more about how driverless cars progressed this year, access our latest resource for a timeline of 2017’s most important driverless car news.

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