The name Fiat Chrysler Automobiles (FCA) is well known as one of the top three US auto producers. Google started a spin off company WAYMO several years ago to develop the programs and software that will enable cars to go driverless - SOON.
Waymo is developing and testing a fleet of about 600 driverless cars across the country today as the emergent car sharing process takes shape. Policy makers are scratching their heads as they try to write cogent policy that will enable the driverless cars to enter the major markets in the US as soon as 2020 when mass production will begin. This date is much earlier than was originally proposed, and we are much closer to car sharing and driverless fleet than many of us could imagine.
According to a recent article in The Verge, Waymo just made a deal with FCA to purchase 62,000 Chrysler Pacifica Minivans for the fleshing out of their ride sharing program over the next few years. Chrysler has said that they will begin delivery of the minivans by the end of 2018. That, my friends, is six months away.
What does this mean for the construction industry? For one thing, it could mean an immediate change in the way that workers get to the jobsite every day or every 8 or 10 hours. As we wrote recently, one of the challenges of building in urban areas is the find secure parking locations near the building site. With the use of these ride sharing cars, contractors, subs and even labor brokers might take advantage of the system to find offsite parking and then have the workers ferried in.
Yes, I know that many companies already use trucks and minivans to get their workers to a variety of jobsites. This only offers an additional option for smaller companies who do not own those minivans already to take advantage of a newer technology without buying the trucks or minivans and then finding parking space for them near the jobsite.
This is the latest in a series of company moves that will speed up the need for public infrastructure to accommodate this new mode of travel. We know that logistics is a big part of the overall plan for a build; this new tech, like the other emergent technologies, will have a major impact on the shape of our cities and the nature of the project that we build.