You can’t have a conversation about economics, labor, and technology these days without mentioning automation. The way computer programs and robotics will be able to reduce costs and increase efficiency is going to have a massive impact on the way we work in a few short years, not just in how we manufacture goods, but how we transport them as well.
One of the biggest technological advancements of the decade is the driverless car. A few short years ago, the average person never dreamed that a computerized automobile could take them from point A to point B. But these days, autonomous cars are becoming a safer and more convenient way to travel the roads and highways. But how will this affect the real estate industry as a whole?
We Can Expect Big Changes
How autonomous cars will impact CRE is anybody’s guess, but most experts do believe that when driverless cars become widely accessible in 2025, the impact will be profound. For starters, commuting and sitting in traffic won’t feel as tedious once passengers are able to multitask while their automobile drives. This is expected to create growth in the suburbs surrounding major metropolitan areas, and could even have a positive effect for brick-and-mortar retail as driving to and from malls and shopping centers becomes easier and more convenient.
Moreover, shopping centers won’t need as much parking space once driverless cars enter the market. Autonomous vehicles will be able to drop passengers off at a specified location and then drive themselves to a parking space further away.
Logistics and Autonomous Vehicles
The biggest change brought on from autonomous vehicles is probably going to be in logistics. Retail and warehousing sectors will benefit immensely from increased productivity once trucks are able to make long-haul deliveries across country without making major stops aside from refueling. Furthermore, as the computers inside these trucks become smarter, they’ll be more likely to detect maintenance-related problems and have them corrected before they turn into major setbacks.
One of the biggest challenges for online shopping is being able to provide speedy delivery. Currently, companies like Amazon have to coordinate with customers regarding delivery times and find drivers able to work irregular hours. But once the delivery process becomes fully automated, self-driving vehicles will be able to deliver packages around the clock, which could create more demand for warehouses and fulfillment centers in urban areas. In fact, some analysts predict that many physical retail stores will stop carrying inventory and act as showrooms. Customers could make purchases from the store, but their products will be delivered same day from an automated driver at a warehouse nearby.
The New Automotive Revolution
One industry that does not stand to gain from driverless cars, however, is the hotel industry. Once automobiles are able to successfully navigate themselves without the assistance of a human driver, we can expect hotel stay-overs from travelers and truckers to decrease dramatically as passengers can rest while their vehicles are in transit.
There’s no denying that the introduction of driverless cars will create a tech disruption in contemporary society – for better or for worse, depending on your industry.