ABC News Covers Meeting of the Minds 2012

By Jessie F. Hahn

Jessie F. Hahn is the Executive Director of Meeting of the Minds. She is an experienced urban planner, specializing in urban-regional policy with a particular focus on sustainability and clean energy. Previously, Jessie launched the successful Regional Energy Policy Program at Regional Plan Association in New York City. She has written numerous articles which have been featured in RPA’s Spotlight on the Region, The Hartford Courant, Urban Age Magazine, The Record, NPR, among others.

Oct 10, 2012 | Announcements | 0 comments

Two of the sponsors of Meeting of the Minds – Toyota and Cisco – were featured in the ABC News today.

Toyota’s Bill Reinert and Cisco’s Gordon Feller discussed how the car and the network are working together to provide new mobility solutions in cities.

Video transcript

Cisco zeroes in on automotive world
Jonathan Bloom, Oct 10, 2012

SAN FRANCISCO (KGO) — Your home, your office, your mobile device. All of them are connected. But what about your car? Well, one of the world’s biggest automakers is now linked to the world’s biggest computer networking company.

On Wednesday Toyota Advanced Technology Manager Bill Reinert showed off an all-electric car that you’ll probably never drive, saying, “This car is not intended for sale, this car is intended for experimental purposes.” The Scion iQ EV is a concept car — a platform to try out technologies for the next generation of “connected” vehicles.
“Not just our smartphones and our tablets, but everything in our lives are gonna be internet enabled,” said Gordon Feller, Cisco’s Director of Urban Innovation. “And that’s in fact happening as we speak. And the connected vehicle is the next big innovation in mobility.”

That’s why networking giant Cisco is holding an invitation-only meeting in San Francisco with Toyota as the cosponsor. They want to work with every car manufacturer to make vehicles as smart as everything else.

“The car knows as a result of my cell phone who’s getting in the car,” Feller said. “My wife likes classical and I like jazz, doesn’t have to play jazz when she’s in the car, only does it for me.”

But the executives meeting Wednesday agree that this is only the beginning. Some of the same technologies used for safety and navigation features in this car could end up paving the way for whole cities full of cars that drive themselves.

Google has been showing off a prototype of a driverless car. But Reinert predicts bringing that technology to market will be a lot easier if the car companies and the networking companies start working together now to make city streets ready for the technology, “Having the hooks for things that don’t exist now but you know they’re coming so that you don’t have to tear up the city streets and you don’t have to reconfigure the cities to add new technologies.”

Automakers are already showing off cars that talk to each other to avoid crashes, though they say a fully driverless car is at least 10 years away from the dealership. But in the meantime, connected city streets will have other benefits, “The network has sensors in the roadway or sensors in the parking space that the internet can tell my vehicle it’s time to park because there’s not gonna be a parking space after this sensor has established there’s a free spot,” Feller said.

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Read more from the CityMinded.org Blog

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Smart Cities and the Weather

A study by the US National Center for Atmospheric Research (NCAR) in 2008 found that the impact of routine weather events on the US economy equates annually to about 3.4% of the country’s GDP (about $485 billion). This excludes the impact of extreme weather events that cause damage and disruption – after all, even “ordinary” weather affects supply of and demand for many items, and the propensity of businesses and consumers to buy them. NCAR found that mining and agriculture are particularly sensitive to weather influences, with utilities and retail not far behind.

Many of these, disaster management included, are the focus of smart city innovations. Not surprisingly, therefore, as they seek to improve and optimize these systems, smart cities are beginning to understand the connection between weather and many of their goals.  A number of vendors (for example, IBM, Schneider Electric, and others) now offer weather data-driven services focused specifically on smart city interests.

Meeting of the Minds is made possible by the generous support of these organizations.