Commercial Investment Real Estate May/June 2017 - Page 35

intended to establish standards for autonomous vehicle lawmaking to avoid drastically different rules from state to state. Industry Adaptation Top Companies Engaged in Driverless Vehicles Timeline of events from 2015 through 2030 projections UK-Greenwich Autonomous Shuttle Tokyo Olympics Demo Singapore Autonomous Shuttle Demos The freight industry’s transition toward greater automation is already underway in the age of Uber e-commerce, but it is certain to accelerate and Uber/Volvo Autonomous Ford Autonomous Autonomous Mobility Fleet (Pittsburgh) Mobility Service Mobility Service expand with the widespread use of driverless vehi- Services (full deployment) cles. Ultimately, logistics companies such as DHL and FedEx foresee a future in which driverless Volvo Drive Me Ford Level 4 Driving Nissan vehicles can fully automate deliveries. GM Tesla Jaguar Land Super Next-Gen Autonomous The trucking industry is in the crosshairs of Rover Autonomous Consumer Cruise Autopilot Daimler driverless technology, as executives and investors Products Autonomous Drive Daimler Audi A8 envision fl eets of trucks absent the cost of drivers’ Truck BMW iNext Highly Autonomous Autonomous VW Highly Automated salaries. Financial services company Morgan Stan- Automated ley offers the conservative estimate of $168 billion in potential savings for the freight transportation ’15 ’16 ’17 ’18 ’19 ’20 ’21 ’22 ’23 ’24 ’25 ’30 industry when autonomous trucks are rolling on Source: Press search; Company websites U.S. highways. Truckers may fight it, but their position is On another front, transportation infrastructure has made weakened by the chronic driver shortage, and an annual turnover rate at U.S. trucking companies hovering around less progress. Some experts say that the solution to our 71 percent for large truckload fl eets, according to the crumbling highways, bridges, and railways lies in embrac- American Trucking Association. The U.S. defi cit of truck ing new technologies — autonomous vehicles in particular — rather than investing in roads built for vehicles that may drivers could potentially climb to 175,000 by 2024. Many European companies anticipate worsening driver soon become obsolete. Also in conjunction with the decline in car ownership, shortages. Several major corporations have set their sights on autonomous trucks. In April 2016, six of the largest the parking garage is likely to be a relic of the automo- manufacturers in Europe completed a test in which con- bile age. This is not only because fewer people would own voys of semi-automated smart trucks arrived at a port in vehicles, but because self-driving cars don’t need to park The Netherlands. One of the convoys traveled more than near the humans they transport. They could simply keep going, moving from passenger to passenger, stopping only 1,200 miles. In October 2016, self-driving truck company Otto to refuel or for repairs. When autonomous vehicles do need to park, they can completed a fully autonomous delivery in Colorado. The San Francisco-based company, started by former Google do so with more precision. This would require less space engineers and executives and acquired by Uber in August for occupant entry and exit, thus reducing the size of the 2016, still had a driver along for the ride. But the successful average parking spot. In this version of the future, the concept of traveling for point-to-point delivery was likely a glimpse into the truck- work or leisure is likely to be entirely different than it is ing industry’s future. Driverless trucking proponents argue that autonomous today. This, in turn, could affect where individuals live, technology will benefi t truckers by allowing them to focus what people buy, how the society designs and constructs buildings, transportation infrastructure, and many other on higher-function tasks. This remains to be seen. components of daily life. Paradigm Shift Ultimately, human hearts and minds may be the great- Uber CEO Travis Kalanick took some heat for a state- est obstacle to the adoption of driverless vehicles. Even the ment he made at the 2014 Code Conference, noting that most avid technophile must admit that a fully autonomous the cost of taking a self-driven Uber will be cheaper than vehicle requires a major leap of faith for people accustomed owning a vehicle. “You basically bring the cost below the to doing the driving. cost of ownership for everybody, and then car ownership goes away,” he said. What also goes away are Uber drivers. Jim Winter is National Director, Industrial Services, for Despite the blowback, Kalanick countered that the future Cresa, the world’s largest tenants-only commercial real estate he addressed is inevitable, albeit years away. fi rm. Contact him at jwinter@cresa.com. CCIM.COM May | June 2017 33