ABC News Covers Meeting of the Minds 2012
Who will you meet?
Cities are innovating, companies are pivoting, and start-ups are growing. Like you, every urban practitioner has a remarkable story of insight and challenge from the past year.
Meet these peers and discuss the future of cities in the new Meeting of the Minds Executive Cohort Program. Replace boring virtual summits with facilitated, online, small-group discussions where you can make real connections with extraordinary, like-minded people.
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.
Leave your comment below, or reply to others.
Please note that this comment section is for thoughtful, on-topic discussions. Admin approval is required for all comments. Your comment may be edited if it contains grammatical errors. Low effort, self-promotional, or impolite comments will be deleted.
Read more from MeetingoftheMinds.org
Spotlighting innovations in urban sustainability and connected technology
A few years ago, I worked with some ARISE-US members to carry out a survey of small businesses in post-Katrina New Orleans of disaster risk reduction (DRR) awareness. One theme stood out to me more than any other. The businesses that had lived through Katrina and survived well understood the need to be prepared and to have continuity plans. Those that were new since Katrina all tended to have the view that, to paraphrase, “well, government (city, state, federal…) will take care of things”.
While the experience after Katrina, of all disasters, should be enough to show anyone in the US that there are limits on what government can do, it does raise the question, of what could and should public and private sectors expect of one another?
When planning for new mobilities, it is important to be a little skeptical. Advocates often exaggerate the benefits and overlook significant costs. Here’s an example. Optimists predict that autonomous cars will reduce traffic congestion, crash risk, energy consumption and pollution emissions, but to achieve these benefits they require dedicated lanes for platooning (many vehicles driving close together at relatively high speeds). When should communities dedicate special lanes for the exclusive use of autonomous vehicles? How much should users pay for the privilege? How should this be enforced? Who will be liable if a high-speed platoon crashes, resulting in a multi-vehicle pile-up?
Infrastructure is on the tip of every mayor’s tongue. It’s no wonder, with billions in federal funding on the table for the first time in a generation and rapidly compounding infrastructure needs. American Rescue Plan dollars represent a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to invest in communities, support resident priorities, and move the needle on racial equity all at the same time. Parks and playgrounds exist in an ideal sweet spot in each of these areas, and cities should consider making investments in these vital pieces of community infrastructure as part of their recovery and resilience strategies.