Self-Driving Cars Will Transform the World as We Know It—Including Where We Live
Babcock Ranch was recently featured in a story on Realtor.com about the future of real estate as autonomous vehicles make their way into the mainstream. Clare Trapasso, the senior news editor of realtor.com and an adjunct journalism professor, writes:
Suburbanites who don’t live in a city can still get in on the autonomous, ride-sharing action. Babcock Ranch is a new 18,000-acre town in Southwest Florida, south of Sarasota. It will have 19,500 homes, schools, services—and autonomous cars and shuttles.
Ground was broken on the former cattle and mining ranch in 2015. About 25 homes—with garages—have already been completed, and residents are beginning to move in. (The town will be a mix of rental apartments, duplexes starting at $175,000, and single-family houses starting in the $190,000s. It’s one of the first fully solar-powered communities in the country.)
Next month, the community is launching the first of its eight-seat, autonomously driven, electric shuttles operated by a company called Transdev, a supplier of public transportation systems. Babcock’s driverless shuttles travel through the community, from the model homes to the town center to model homes.
“It doesn’t run on tracks. It doesn’t have any wires,” says Babcock spokeswoman Lisa Hall. “It learns the route and … it knows how to guide itself.”
Babcock Ranch says it’s just the beginning of its vision of future travel. The community is also planning to have two-seat, autonomous vehicles that residents can order on their smartphones (for a fee) to get around.
“We’re trying to create a whole new way of living,” Hall says.
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