While much of Davos has been consumed with AI and Blockchain, I attended a fascinating panel on the future of mobility with the CEOs of Boeing, Uber and UPS. They observed that while cities have moved from being 2D to 3D with underground and skyscraper builds, mobility has remained in the 2D realm.
Our roads cannot keep up with the increasing population growth in cities where two-thirds of the world population will soon live. 3D mobility could be a huge boon to emerging economies where 2D infrastructure itself is non-existent in large parts of the country. Just as the telecom infrastructure in these countries skipped much of the wireline buildout to go directly to wireless, similarly 3D mobility could avoid much of the road infrastructure buildout costs if the economies of shared rides works out.
This is all happening faster than you might realize. Just this week, Boeing NeXT completed the first test flight of its electrically powered, fully autonomous passenger air vehicle (PAV) eVTOL prototype.
This got me thinking about how workspaces will evolve as 3D mobility becomes mainstream:
- Will mobility be point to point or a hub spoke model? Could parking lots be repurposed for 3D vehicles or will future buildings look more like beehives with multiple landing areas?
- With faster mobility, will more offices move out of congested cities and commute employees to and from 3D shuttles zones?
- How will public-private partnerships emerge to create regulations and standards for interoperability and safety?
- Will Google Maps have an air mode in addition to drive and walk modes?
Many of us are still trying to get our heads around autonomous driving cars, but the world of 3D autonomous driving is not that far behind. Fasten your seatbelts!
Vinay Goel is JLL’s Chief Digital Product Officer.
For more on our presence at the World Economic Forum, please visit JLL’s Davos 2019 page.