The vision of the future is always full of cars that could fly or drive themselves. What if that future is closer to reality than we thought? Autonomous vehicles are on the way to being a big part of our everyday lives. What was once a concept is starting to become integrated into consumer cars across the globe. What started with a driver assist to pump a break, or a side-view mirror light that made a driver aware of a car in their blind spot, has now progressed into a full-blown smart-car industry with technology that requires very little input from the driver.
Cars shape our cities. From the planning of streets and highways, to parking and building access. As technology in cars morph the industry and how people get from A to B, architects need to be concious about how the architectural and planning realm will be affected. Building entry and flows are carefully calculated for how people enter and exit a structure.
The biggest impact projected by autonomous vehicles is parking. There is human error to account for when designing parking lots or garages. Autonomous vehicles can park with much less error, requiring less space and improving organizational densities. Another factor to consider is the drop-off scenario. Currently, people have to park (or valet if you’re fancy) and then walk to a building’s entrance. The timeless battle for the closest parking spot may disappear in thin air when our cars can simply go find their own spot! Architects will have to think about this for future building designs since the potential for increased traffic at drop offs and pick ups is there – similar to an airport.
Mancini understands that these changes in our infrastructure, as it relates to autonomous vehicles, are inevitable. In our master-planning projects, like Columbia Park or Veria, we run simulations that portray what an increased level of entry traffic might mean for the owner. We test various technologically sound parking garage concepts that aid in the parking for autonomous vehicles.