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Autonomous Vehicles Are Big News For Birmingham Real Estate

Nissan Autonomous Drive

Fifty miles of roads in Birmingham and Coventry will be allocated to testing autonomous vehicles as the property industry in general — and the Birmingham property market in particular — digests the implications of self-driving cars.

The Midlands Future Mobility — a consortium including Transport for the West Midlands, Amey, Costain and the University of Warwick — said that the network of roads will provide a diverse real-world testing environment, Midlands Business Insider reports.

With the region's existing strength in the auto sector, their ambition is to make the West Midlands the centre of a fast-growing autonomous vehicle sector in the U.K.

The real-road testing will begin soon, after Jaguar Land Rover announced that it has been successful in winning government funding for an off-road all-terrain autonomous vehicle.

The funding for the Cortex programme has been awarded from the government's Connected and Autonomous Vehicle Fund, Business Desk reports.

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Elon Musk

Autonomous vehicles, such as those pioneered by U.S. entrepreneur Elon Musk, have been hailed as a potential game-changer for the commercial real estate sector.

As driverless cars and shuttles become commonplace, they could reduce the need for bulk parking at commercial developments, thus paving the way for greater density and a more profitable use of land, Phillips Edison & Co. CEO Jeff Edison told the Wall Street Journal.

The vast majority of parking spaces and garages will no longer be necessary, which means developers will have access to a slew of available land in urban centers, Bloomberg reports.

It also means that street parking could be replaced by bike lanes and wider sidewalks, leading to the creation of more walkable cities of a kind already being promoted by West Midlands Metro Mayor Andy Street and the Colmore Business Improvement District.

But urban development is not the only thing expected to experience a major change. Suburbs are also likely to see an infusion of development as people become more willing to live farther away from their workplace because they no longer have to drive themselves to and from the office, Bloomberg said.