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How (not if) will self-driving cars change ... real estate/vacation homes

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  • How (not if) will self-driving cars change ... real estate/vacation homes

    Hey everyone, just a general question up for needless speculation:

    How will having level 4 (highway driving) or level 5 (fully autonomous) cars change how our society operates... that was too broad of a question, so I decided to narrow it down a bit and ask:  how will it change the way we vacation?

    I absolutely love our beautiful National Parks out west.  But it's slog of a 9-15 hour drive from the MidWest where I live, plane connections are too inconvenient, the train is too slow and inflexible and private plane (say Icon A5, google it) is even closer to a pipe-dream than the coming reality of self-driving cars... as a reservation holder of a Tesla Model 3 with "supposedly" all the hardware for fully autonomous driving my mind begins to wonder.

    Set the car to go and refuel every 250-300 miles.  Straight shot on the highway, go to sleep early, wake up and you are at Badlands, Bighorn or Yellowstone.  I could then justify getting a small cabin/vacation home, spend several weeks out of the year there, perhaps even do consulting off site (plus big bonus SD is state income tax free).

    Second point -- limited land (low supply) and difficulty getting there makes Jackson Hole the escape of the wealthy (top 3 zip code for income in the country), with real estate prices through the roof.  Do you think other National parks will get there too? (some would argue parts of them are already there) and will self-driving cars accelerate the process?

  • #2
    That's a pretty narrow set of circumstances, and a little bit of a stretch to connect IMO.  But still interesting conversation.

    When you can truly get in a car, set it and forget it, and literally relax/sleep for hours on end without thinking about even fueling, that sort of thing might be a factor in demand for vacation homes, but there are too many other, larger factors.

    I don't think you'll be seeing cars like this for many, many years to come.  Tesla in particular has been very cavalier in their talk and promises, but the product so far doesn't live up to expectations.  And even if you have a truly autonomous vehicle, how long will it be until the public is comfortable having it drive away empty, or taking their children to school unsupervised.  And even further, there will continue to be other very fallible drivers on the road for the foreseeable future and the quality of those drivers will only erode with time.


    • #3
      Fun to think about. Not sure if this would change how people interact with vacation homes because the rate limiting step is still going to be the amount of time we have off. A self-driving car might leave me a little more refreshed on arrival but a 3 hr drive or a 3 hr ride is still 3hrs in a seat.

      I would think of second home use as following in 3 categories: daytrips (60-75min away), weekend trips (3-5hr away), and vacations (>5hr away). I have yet to find a frequency curve that shows days used per year vs. distance from primary residence but I think we can all picture what that would look like. My point being, we're all probably better off finding a day-trip type home and using it rather than a vacation home that sits idle.


      • #4
        Cheaper and faster to simply fly in that circumstance. There are lots of obvious and obvious after thinking about the logical consequences of autonomous driving. It will take decades to be fully inserted into our lives. Thats just about how fast it takes for something that big and entrenched to change. Even if you actually had all the replacements right now it would still take years to physically get them exchanged as there are just that many vehicles on the roads in the world.

        For vacation homes, thats such a narrow focus its hard to say at all. Maybe you'd be more likely to visit during a normal weekend if you didnt have to deal with the traffic and annoyance after a long week, I sure would be more likely to take trips if that were the case (less than 4h that is).

        Otherwise, changes will be immense. People will reverse from the moving downtown thing they are doing now and suburbs will pop again as makes more sense if you personally dont have to drive and can work on way to work, etc....Most cars will be shipping cargo like amazon, etc...

        There are some great papers on this if you are actually interested in it beyond the vacation home idea.

        On a side note, dont ever put your life in the hands of Tesla for goodness sake. Just watch some youtube testing of their "autopilot" capabilities, they are severely lacking and if you trust them as advertised you could very well become very harmed. Remember, despite everything they say to the contrary to save face, the company making the software/hardware for their AP system dropped them as they considered them reckless and damaging to overall autonomous driving future with their over stepping of obvious barriers and limitations.


        • #5
          I love (LOVE) the national parks. One of the things that is great about them, most of them, is that they are relatively remote and difficult to get to.

          I have my eye on Springdale and Rockville, Utah, right outside Zion, my favorite park to visit. Real estate has already started to climb. Zion is relatively easy to get to, a 2hr 40min drive from Vegas,

          I believe that fully autonomous vehicles are closer than you (@Zaphod) think! Once it is optimized, it will be much more expensive to insure a conventional automobile than an autonomous one, to the point that people will be forced to convert. I am looking forward to the day that we do not have to own a car--we just summon one via an app on our smartphone when we need one.


          • #6
            Those Teslas are nice, but I want an autonomous RV.  Then we'll be talking.


            • #7
              Not just vacation but also working. As an ED physician, it will be even easier to pick up a job 1-2 hours or potentially more from where you live as you can sleep and relax during the drive home.


              • #8
                I love driving but as I get older the strain of concentration after a 5=6 hour drive is too much. I love to have my own vehicle rather than fly just to avoid TSA hassles, start and return when I want, carry what I want and also have my own personal vehicle at the destination rather than a get a rental car. I would pay for limited lane expressways where i can enter and let the car take over till I need to exit on to local roads.

                My other reason for wishing some sort of autonomous cars is that a day will come when due to loss of visual acuity, worsening arthritis or not having sufficient fast reflexes might make me lose my license and basically confine me to home. Having a self driving car might make me take trips to the grocers, friend's houses or other recreation areas and live more independently for longer time in my own home.


                • #9
                  I so can't wait for this. I have a relative who works in the auto industry. He still thinks it will be quite a while, but I'm more optimistic seeing that semi-autonomous options are basically in every new car now. I told my relative he has 16 years to get it together: I don't want to have to have my newborn driving herself!