On this episode of The Tech Ranch, Dave Blair and Jim Walsh are in the studio while the “Guru of Geek” Marlo Anderson is out on business travel once again. In an interesting turn of events, today’s call-in guest is none other than the “Guru of Geek” himself. Yes, Dave and Jim decide to switch things up a bit and have the host of The Tech Ranch call-in to discuss the latest development in driverless vehicles. But first, let’s turn our focus on what it means to live in a smart city.
What is a Smart City?
In the digital age the definition of “smart” means to operate by automation. We have smart phones, smart televisions, smart appliances, smart watches and smart vehicles. All of these every day objects operate off of data we provide. Data collection is essential for the success of a product. It plays the biggest roll in deciding what features run more efficiently versus those that don’t. It doesn’t come as a surprise that city governments are moving forward into the digital age by incorporating technology into the daily operations of how a city functions. City officials everywhere are setting goals to make their cities smarter.
The idea of a smart city is to create more efficient infrastructure, quality of life, a cleaner and sustainable environment, public safety, and power management all through the use of technology. Smart cities are can be created and monitored through the use of sensors. Sensors can provide city planners data that will help with the quality of life in cities by improving services, such as the use of a simple traffic light. Smart cities a will offer better planning for land use, especially for those cities that need improvements to downtown areas or areas that have a lot of congestion. The Smart Cities Council is working with cities throughout the world to begin implementation for smart cities. Bill Gates recently invested $80 million into plans for a smart city in Arizona. The idea to build a digital city falls into to the thinking of the Microsoft guru. It’s going to be exciting to visit the city when it’s running and fully operational.
Where’s the Driver?
We mentioned earlier the Guru of Geek is on business travel. What we didn’t mention is this business trip just happened to coincide with the first day a self-driving bus would be on the road in downtown Las Vegas. And, we also didn’t mention he just so happened to be on the very street the shuttle was loading passengers! If you haven’t guessed by now, the Guru jumped on board. It was like a kid in a candy store. Except, it was a blue bus, with vinyl seats, driving itself.
After a test run in January, the autonomous shuttle made by the French Company NAVYA, began it’s first day of operation. Unfortunately, the shuttle was in a fender-bender. The Guru of Geek “claims” he had nothing to do with the accident saying “I was on the bus 30 minutes before the accident happened.” I guess it’s true that what happens in Vegas, stays in Vegas because the Guru of Geek was sticking to that story. At any rate, a delivery truck ran into the shuttle. The accident left people questioning the safety of autonomous vehicles. Autonomous vehicles are extremely safe. In this instance, the shuttle wasn’t at fault. It was human error. The shuttle sensors stopped when it recognized another vehicle, but the driver of the truck didn’t stop causing the accident. According to the Guru of Geek’s observations, the autonomous vehicle seemed confused and didn’t know how to react to the truck pulling out. Thankfully, no one was hurt, but the truck driver was cited.
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Join the “Guru of Geek” Marlo Anderson and “Tech Geezer” Jim Walsh every week for a new episode of the Tech Ranch.
Broadcast Date October 30, 2017 Episode 291