Driverless Trucks Will Likely Alter Industrial Building Design, Site Selection

Municipalities, developers and even investors need to start considering the commercial real estate impact of trucks that don’t need drivers, says Joe Dunlap, who leads the supply chain services practice at real estate services firm CBRE. An autonomous cargo vehicle, combined with robotic unloading and warehouse interior operations, would alter distribution center design and site selection decisions. Self-driving vehicles significantly expand the hours of service trucks can provide for warehouses, as current federal regulations restrict the number of hours a driver can work to about 400-500 miles per day, according to an April 2016 CBRE report. Large warehouses currently have to be somewhat close to large population hubs so that drivers aren’t putting in too many expensive hours; but with no human labor involved, these trucks can be located in cheaper, remote areas, Dunlap says.