Many believe that as city planners, transportation officials, and, eventually, developers start grappling with the changes to come, autonomous vehicles’ potential to reshape real estate, development, and city planning will rival that of the introduction of the automobile.
Autonomous Vehicles are known as a self driving car or driverless car, or robo car; this kind of vehicles are capable of sensing its environment and moving safely with little or no human input or effort. It drives itself from one starting point to a predetermined destination in autopilot mode using various in vehicle technologies and sensors including adaptive cruise control, acting steering, anti lock breaking system and others.
As cities lower parking ratios, new development projects will become more affordable. Existing buildings will also become more valuable if they have parking spaces can be converted into living units. Cost savings won’t be constrained to multifamily buildings; owners of single family homes could get a boost too.
Effect of Autonomous Vehicles to residential real estate:
Parking lots and garages will become less necessary if not obsolete.
Parking lots and garages in apartment buildings can be converted and repurposed to make way for additional residential units and/or resident amenities, such as a fitness center, movie room or outdoor pool. Cities will lower their parking requirements, thereby allowing developers to increase residential density. The number of units a developer builds is often constrained by his ability to meet a city’s parking requirements. Ultimately, lower parking ratios will make it easier for developers to build more units at any given multifamily project.
Housing will become more affordable.
As cities lower parking ratios, new development projects will become more affordable, existing buildings will also become more valuable if they have parking spaces can be converted into living units; cost savings won’t be constrained to multifamily buildings; owners of single family homes could get a boost too. An estimated 13% of every single-family lot is now dedicated to a garage. This space could be converted into an office or in-law suite. Owners can then turn around and rent these accessory units out on websites like Airbnb, which in effect will make single-family homes 13% more affordable than they were previously.
Neighborhoods that currently lack parking will become more attractive.
Anyone who’s familiar with San Francisco knows how bad the parking crunch is in the North Beach neighborhood. Unless you have off-street parking, finding a place to park can be a nightmare. For some people, this makes North Beach a no-go when it comes to deciding where to live. When self-driving vehicles become more prevalent and people begin to forego private car ownership, areas like North Beach could become more appealing. Property values and rents could both rise as people no longer need to worry about where to park their cars.
Commuting patterns may change.
People might be willing to live farther away from the city center when autonomous vehicles become the norm. Driverless cars will allow people to be productive during their commute; they can make phone calls, shoot off emails, read the news, or take a nap. This could make fringe and suburban markets more popular, where people have access to more land, bigger homes and better schools.
Challenges faced with Autonomous Vehicles
Fully autonomous (Level 5) Vehicles are undergoing testing in several pockets of the world, but none are yet available to the general public. We’re still years away from that. The challenges range from the technological and legislative to the environmental and philosophical. Here are just some of the unknowns.
Lidar and Radar
Lidar is expensive and is still trying to strike the right balance between range and resolution. If multiple autonomous cars were to drive on the same road, would their lidar signals interfere with one another. And if multiple radio frequencies are available, will the frequency range be enough to support mass production of autonomous cars?
What happens when an autonomous vehicle drives in heavy precipitation? If there’s a layer of snow on the road, lane dividers disappear. How will the cameras and sensors track lane markings if the markings are obscured by water, oil, ice, or debris?
Traffic Conditions and Laws
Will autonomous vehicle have trouble in tunnels or on bridges? How will they do in bumper-to-bumper traffic? Will autonomous vehicle be relegated to a specific lane? Will they be granted carpool lane access? And what about the fleet of legacy vehicle still sharing the roadways for the next years to come.
State vs. Federal Regulation
The regulatory process in most countries has recently shifted from federal guidance to state-by-state mandates for autonomous vehicles. Some states have even proposed a per-mile tax on autonomous vehicles to prevent the rise of “zombie cars” driving around without passengers. Law makers have also written bills proposing that all autonomous vehicles must be zero-emission vehicles and have a panic button installed. But are the laws going to be different from state to state? Will you be able to cross state lines with an autonomous vehicles?
Who is liable for accidents caused by an autonomous car? The manufacturer? The human passenger? The latest blueprints suggest that a fully autonomous Level 5 car will not have a dashboard or a steering wheel, so a human passenger would not even have the option to take control of the vehicle in an emergency.
If you would like to learn more, please contact any of our estate planning attorneys today.