Alphabet's Sidewalk Labs wants to build test city
Google's parent company Alphabet's subsidiary Sidewalk Labs wants to build a hi-tech test city in the U.S. from the ground up. Having its own city will allow Sidewalk Labs to rapidly test and deploy emerging technologies and find solutions to major urban problems. It is still undecided whether Alphabet will buy land for the project or invite bids from counties and states.
Larry Page announces Sidewalk Labs
Google CEO Larry Page announced a new company as part of Alphabet Inc.'s subsidiaries called Sidewalk Labs. Page tweeted that it would focus on "developing and incubating urban technologies to address issues like cost of living, efficient transportation and energy usage." It would be headed by Dan Doctoroff, former CEO of Bloomberg and Deputy Mayor of Economic Development and Rebuilding for New York City.
Sidewalk Labs unveils LinkNYC project
Intersection, a merger of an outdoor design and advertising firm, led by Sidewalks Labs, announced project LinkNYC. The project involves deploying a $200 million network of 7,500 wi-fi kiosks over the next eight years to replace New York City's aging coin-operated pay phones. The kiosks, known as Links, will offer free super-fast wireless internet access within a radius of 400 feet.
Sidewalk Labs is also working in cooperation with the United States Department of Transportation to assess road data gathered from smartphones and analyze traffic conditions to develop a transportation coordination platform to improve efficiency in transportation.
Sidewalk Labs hires 'dream team'
Alphabet subsidiary Sidewalk Labs announced that it had hired a "dream team" to work out smart city designs. The team of experts' goal will be to create new technology products aimed to fix major urban problems. Although Sidewalk Labs CEO Dan Doctoroff did not hint at what all the technology products would be, he highlighted that self-driving cars would be one area of focus.
The who's who of the 'dream team'
Sidewalk Labs' "dream team" is headed by Craig Nevill-Manning, former head of Google's New York City-based engineering team. The chief operating officer is Anand Babu, who previously led Google's special projects team focused on cities and transportation. The chief policy officer is Rohit Aggarwala, who had previously headed the sustainability practice at Bloomberg Associates. Josh Sirefman, another Bloomberg veteran, will be chief development officer.
What to expect from Sidewalk Labs' smart city?
Apart from including high speed, cheap internet access to all residents, Sidewalk Labs' smart city vision also includes the use of renewable energy sources. The city will also have infrastructure for a large number of self-driving cars where traffic congestion would be managed by mobility applications. To tackle the high cost of living, Sidewalk Labs plans to use new materials and innovative ownership models.