Building smarter cities not only make life more convenient but also offer protection from infectious disease, traffic accidents and tackle climate change
Now that the world is emerging from its pandemic hiatus, technological leaders are back and ready to share their redefinition of a safe and smart future at #COMPUTEXVirtual, the leading information and communications technology trade show organized by the Taiwan External Trade Development Council (TAITRA).
In tomorrow’s cities, autonomous cars will zip us between fully integrated buildings that anticipate our every need. However, COVID-19 has exposed other considerations that the people building these systems must keep in mind.
Before this past year, no one spared a second thought when shaking someone’s hand or keying into work, but now the dangers hidden in these everyday actions are top of mind. Makers of smart city tech were the first to realize that we already have the solutions, just waiting to be implemented.
Using sensors, facial recognition, e-fencing and more, exhibitors have contactless answers for every need. The Shuttle’s kiosk can take a visitor’s temperature while simultaneously scanning for a mask. And the smart library system by Gigabyte allows students to check out books by looking into a camera.
Yet, the pandemic also serves as a reminder that this challenge will not be the last. Energy efficiency is no longer just a slogan but a necessary feature, emphasized by everyone from chipmakers to integrated solution providers. Staggering amounts of power is lost on its way to the user and to “vampire power” by idle devices, compounding the challenges of clean energy generation and storage.
Companies such as Delta envision alleviating these issues by optimizing the grid itself. On a smart grid, all parts of the system would be connected together so that automated managers would know when to supply, store or redirect power as needed. Individual buildings can save energy by utilizing artificial intelligence to optimize usage, as Singaporean start-up EverComm is already accomplishing in factories and hotels.
Reflecting the complex challenges posed to future cities, transportation took up much of the focus at COMPUTEX this year. From sensors to servers to support architecture, there is a lot to figure out to ensure that autonomous vehicles can operate safely.
WinBus, Taiwan’s first self-driving minibus to achieve level 4 “high automation” capabilities, is a testament to the collaborative nature of future technologies. Developed by Taiwan’s Automotive Research & Testing Center along with local firms, including Gigabyte, whose automated-driving control unit powers the heart of the vehicle, WinBus has achieved the most stringent safety certification and is already shuttling travelers around tourist attractions in Taiwan.