A survey has found that America’s cities have been slow in incorporating the autonomous vehicles technology into their plans. But the announcement of $50 million plans under Smart City challenge changed all this for futuristic transport vision.
The US Department of Transportation announced in December the Smart City Challenge, an urban innovation contest that asked mid-sized metros to draw up ideas for improving safety and mobility with driverless cars, intelligent infrastructure, street sensors, and the like.
Since then 78 cities have applied with DOT that is set to narrow the field to five finalists with winner being named in June.
An official said the goal of the challenge is to produce not just conceptual outlines but “real models” at work in an urban environment. To that end, DOT is collaborating with software giant Autodesk.
The finalists will get access to Infraworks 360, a “building information modelling” platform that uses 3-D visualizations and real-world data to plan major engineering projects.
“Their system is able to create 20 different versions of the same thing and help you figure out which of those versions makes the most sense,” said the official.
An Autodesk official said Infraworks is “extremely relevant” to the Smart City Challenge because it can model futuristic transportation scenarios onto existing urban environments.
In addition to multimodal traffic simulations, the program can consider the impact of driverless cars and intelligent sensors on local mobility. It “ultimately helps city planners show and tell multiple design ideas and iterations,” he said.