The Self-Driving Urban Nirvana Fallacy

An interesting alternative viewpoint, but not thoroughly thought out. One of the potential advantages of self-driving vehicles is to outsource the cost of ownership. It will be more efficient for businesses to own vehicles to deliver products full-time than for individuals to own vehicles to pick-up products part time. Companies that do not deliver will be driven (pun intended) out of business by competitors that do. Businesses will charge people who pick up products the same prices as those who have products delivered to them in order to offset the fixed costs of vehicle ownership.

Self-driving vehicles are and will continue to be slower than human driven ones as long as human driven vehicles continue to be a significant fraction of traffic. That’s an inevitable consequence of AI forced to share the road with people, who are by nature unpredictable. This will offset the potential for people to be more productive as passengers than they are as drivers.

A variety of factors will impact the future shape of real estate in the USA and the rest of the Western world. Whether vehicles are self driven or not, it’s more efficient for services to be located closer to customers than farther away. Cities will become denser. The end of the age of sprawl is within sight.

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