Friday, November 1, 2019

Sidewalk Labs #Columbus #Ohio


Columbus Ohio Google Sidewalk Labs...

Alphabet's Sidewalk Labs plans to take over public transport in Columbus, Ohio

When it was spun out from Google last year, Sidewalk Labs promised to improve urban living by creating "smart cities." Now, in documents obtained by the Guardian, we've got an idea of exactly how the Alphabet company envisions these cities will work. In proposals offered to Columbus, Ohio — the winner of the $40 million Smart City challenge award organized by the US Department of Transport — Sidewalk Labs says it will use camera-equipped cars to keep track of empty private parking spaces and offer them for short-term rental, and combine various methods of transport under one app, integrating car-sharing services, bus routes, and even bike lanes to create a new kind of public transport.

The company is reportedly offering Columbus a three-year trial of its capabilities, bringing 100 Wi-Fi kiosks as well as systems it says are "new superpowers to extend access and mobility." The project is built around Sidewalk Labs' Flow software, introduced earlier this year as a tool designed to manage congestion and parking problems, with an eye to the eventual introduction of self-driving cars. Using Flow and data from Google Maps' camera cars, Sidewalk Labs could tally all the parking spaces in a city, then using data from drivers and parking meters to estimate whether they would be free in real-time.

The city of Columbus is expected to receive one percent of the revenue from Flow Transit, or about $2.25 million a year — Sidewalk Labs did not say how much it would be taking in — but it would also be expected to re-train police officers, update road infrastructure, and constantly share data with the company. Sidewalk Labs also expects its partners to take the lead in political moves, expecting them to be responsible for "clearing policy hurdles in order to make implementations possible." If the Ohio city does see value in Sidewalk Labs' vision of a future city, it could reportedly put its parking plan into practice as soon as next January, with its Flow Transit app working from July.

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