Technology’s Impact on our Future

As I am prepping for my presentation on Smart Cities and driverless vehicles at next week’s Intelligent Transportation Society’s ITS America 2016 Conference, I realized how much nearly every facet of our lives will change – or at least has the potential to change – as a result of rapidly progressing technology.

At the moment, I’m focused on – and discussing at various conferences – the impact autonomous vehicles (AV) will have on many industries, including retail. Self-driving cars mean that the average person won’t need a vehicle parked the majority of the time, just waiting to make the commute to the office or run errands around town. Most are surprised to learn that the average car sits idle for 96% of the time! With a self-driving vehicle, consumers can “order” the service and a car will come right to them. This means that there will likely be a reduced need for parking at retail centers. Currently in the U.S., there are eight parking spots per car. We won’t need to have this much land paved over and devoted to parking.

As an example, a 1 million square foot retail center equipped with 5,000 parking spaces could save 30% of the land used for parking – or 1,500 spaces. This means it would end up saving 15 acres of land, which could be repurposed for other retail, office, and residential use – or just turned into a park area. This scenario will likely occur all across the country once driverless vehicles begin appearing on U.S. roadways.

But, this is a small example within one industry. I recently came across an article by Dr. Ronald Klatz MD, DO, published in World Health. I found many of his future predictions to be interesting and accurate. Below are a few of his predictions that were related to the transportation industry. The full article can be found here:

“Autonomous Cars Most car companies may become bankrupt. Traditional car companies try the evolutionary approach and just build a better car, while tech companies (Tesla, Apple, Google) will do the revolutionary approach and build a computer on wheels. I spoke to a lot of engineers from Volkswagen and Audi; they are completely terrified of Tesla.

Software will disrupt most traditional industries in the next 5-10 years. Uber is just a software tool, they don’t own any cars, and are now the biggest taxi company in the world. Airbnb is now the biggest hotel company in the world, although they don’t own any properties.

Insurance Companies will have massive trouble because without accidents, insurance will become 100x cheaper. Their car insurance business model will disappear.

Real Estate will change. Because if you can work while you commute, people will move further away to live in a more beautiful neighborhood.

Electric Cars won’t become mainstream until 2020. Cities will be less noisy because all cars will run on electric. Electricity will become incredibly cheap and clean: Solar production has been on an exponential curve for 30 years, but you can only now see the impact. Last year, more solar energy was installed worldwide than fossil. The price for solar will drop so much that all coal companies will be out of business by 2025.”

Looks like Back to the Future is here! Enjoy the ride.

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