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Impact of autonomous vehicles on commercial real estate

Joanna Sinkiewicz, Partner, Head of the Industrial Agency, Cushman & Wakefield

Global real estate services firm Cushman & Wakefield has published a report on the impact of autonomous vehicles on commercial real estate. Ongoing urbanization combined with increasing demand for goods and people to be moved in mass means that mobility now matters more than ever, says the report.

- Occupiers in the manufacturing industry are looking to new technology, including autonomous vehicles, to reduce delivery costs and improve overall efficiencies, which is what our clients expect, sector regardless. And as industrial property landlords are realising the need to adapt buildings to changing occupier expectations, BTS schemes are moving up in popularity. Deployment of autonomous vehicles will only add to this trend - said Joanna Sinkiewicz, Partner, Head of the Industrial Agency, Cushman & Wakefield.

The report says that occupiers and investors are willing to pay more for a property meeting their location criteria and providing good connectivity to transport. CAV use could make commuting cheaper and more efficient, thereby reducing the importance of distance that will cease to be a key locational factor. Some studies expect CAV deployment to reduce congestion and increase road capacity.

The transition to autonomous driving will pose major challenges to building landlords. It is already necessary to watch closely both innovations having a potential impact on commercial real estate, and legislators responding to new advances and trends. Landlords should plan for the mixed road use combining both AVs and non-AV capable vehicles. AV technology is only one of factors showing how end-user lifestyle and expectations about mobility and environmental quality are changing.

AVs will play an important role in logistics within the next five to ten years. Manufacturers, retailers and third party logistics companies are looking to technology to improve efficiencies and reduce delivery costs. CAVs could also be used as lockers on wheels allowing customers to retrieve ordered goods, and have the advantage of reducing labour costs and operating beyond the restrictions of working hours.

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