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Uber and the Future of Property Development

August 21, 2018

Uber’s mission is clear. They want us out of our own cars and into theirs. And they want it fast, before the competition can catch up…

Author | Paul Skuse

Uber’s mission is clear. They want us out of our own cars and into theirs. And they want it fast, before the competition can catch up. But we’re not talking about hailing the nearest driver via the App. The driver will be taken out of the equation all together. Uber’s mission is to create what they call the “driverless rideshare future.” We call them driverless cars, and they’re here already.

So how will this affect the future of our cities and property developments?

In September 2016, Uber launched a small fleet of driverless cars featuring GPS and 360-degree cameras mounted on the roof allowing them to ‘see’ in the American city of Pittsburgh, which a select number of users could hail. The city now aims to pilot 100 of Uber’s autonomous vehicles and roll out the fleet from there, with the competition (Ford, General Motors, BMW, Volvo, Google, Apple and Tesla) in hot pursuit.


A Changing Cityscape

The average car stays stationary for 22 hours per day, but a driverless carpool vehicle that picks up and drops off passengers 24 hours a day would rarely need to park. For our cities this means a lower number of cars on the road, which in turn means less need for parking spaces, which will increase the size of pedestrian areas and create more space for public realm.


New Brownfield Site Opportunities

Our cities can find new uses for their unused roads and city centre parking areas. These centrally situated areas will create opportunities for commercial and residential projects. Imagine what an NCP car park site (not the most beautiful architectural feature) can become.

Without the need for underground or street level parking bays, existing apartment blocks can be enhanced with additional commercial space or extra apartments.


But it’s not just in our cities that this will have an impact

Our rural developments will no longer need driveways for two cars and garages behind. It will be interesting to see which developers decide to pack more houses into this new found space and which will prefer to give each home more room to breathe.

And one final question is, if garages are a thing of the past where will we all store our piles of boxes and junk? Maybe it’s not time to invest in Uber and Tesla, maybe it’s time to invest in storage companies!

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