It is often thought that smart city initiatives are the prerogative of the big cities of this world. The opposite is true, as is proven by the American city of Peachtree Corners. This suburb of Atlanta, Georgia, with an estimated population of roughly 43,000, has developed a real-world smart city environment.
Brandon Branham, chief technology officer (CTO) and assistant city manager, leads the City of Peachtree Corners’ smart city and Internet of Things (IoT) programs. Curiosity Lab must be the most important of the CIty’s digital programs. It is, according to Branham, the country’s first true smart city technology proving ground – featuring real connected city infrastructure and thousands of interacting residents/vehicles that can’t be replicated by closed or controlled testing environments.
The 500-acre technology park and 1.5-mile autonomous vehicle test street creates conditions that enable robotics, artificial intelligence, autonomous services/vehicles and other emerging applications to be trialed, developed and deployed.
Serving as the model for how government entities and the free market can collaborate to build out smart cities and regions in the United States, Curiosity Lab showcases how buildings and other city fixtures are enabling, and connecting with, devices and solutions.
When it comes to autonomous technologies, for example, Curiosity Lab’s mobile 5G network, combined with direct short-range communications (DSRC) roadside units, enable disruptive technology developers to test vehicle-to-everything (V2X) communications.
Intelligent traffic cameras and traffic signals, along with smart street lights and data sensors, push video and invaluable data to a central operations center for analysis and action.
All reflective of how city infrastructure will soon communicate with machines and humans on a much bigger scale than before.