Le Monde, a French newspaper, interviewed Rapid Flow founder Stephen Smith after Surtrac won the 2017 Le Monde International Smart City Innovation Award for Mobility.
Smart cities and cars are getting even smarter as technological disruption continues to shake up the transportation industry. By 2021, more than 380 million connected cars are expected to be on the road, as automakers plan to connect the majority of the vehicles they sell, according to research from BI Intelligence. This connectivity is leading to new solutions for urban planning applications, data analysis and problem-solving.
About six years ago, Stephen Smith was stopped at a traffic light in East Liberty, driving home from Carnegie Mellon University. The robotics professor had been working over a tricky problem — how to make urban traffic flow more efficiently. Computer simulations showed his proposed system worked, but he needed a place to test it amidst aggressive drivers, slow buses and errant pedestrians.
Idling in rush-hour traffic can be mind numbing. It also carries other costs. Traffic congestion costs the U.S. economy $121 billion a year, mostly due to lost productivity, and produces about 25 billion kilograms of carbon dioxide emissions, Carnegie Mellon University professor of robotics
Artificial intelligence (AI) has gradually become an integral part of modern life, from Siri and Spotify’s personalized features on our phones to automatic fraud alerts from our banks whenever a transaction appears suspicious. Defined simply, a computer with AI is able to respond to its environment by learning on its own—without humans providing specific instructions. A new report from Stanford University in Palo Alto, California, outlines how AI could become more integrated into people’s lives by 2030, and recommends how best to regulate it and make sure its benefits are shared equally.
Pittsburgh’s application for the $50 million Smart City Challenge grant calls for a series of transportation spines, traffic signals that give priority to transit and freight vehicles, and an “electric avenue” between Downtown and Hazelwood for driverless vehicles charged at solar power stations.
Pittsburgh, meanwhile, has strong existing ties with local universities when it comes to transportation. At Carnegie Mellon, researchers affiliated with the Traffic21 Institute, and an initiative known as Metro21, work on technology that has already been tested in the city.
An East Liberty company that helped reduce traffic delays in that busy East End neighborhood is being recruited to do the same on the North Shore, where major sporting events and concerts routinely tie up traffic.
Anyone who has tried to get out of the gridlock that is the North Shore after a Steelers game knows that traffic conditions could be improved, to put it mildly.