Most futuristic movies feature cities that have increased functionality, which has been obtained by applying technology to everyday life. Leading technology company, Panasonic, has already begun building these ‘smart cities,’ and have shown where they can be the way forward. Their creation, Fujisawa SSC in Japan, is the world’s first city which incorporates technology into its infrastructure to maximize efficiency. The eco-friendly design was based on five major areas:
Energy – Fujisawa SSC’s energy system was created with the intention of consuming as well as generating energy within the boundaries of the city. 30% of the town’s energy comes from renewable sources, and each household can monitor its consumption online. All lighting fixtures are LED and buildings are equipped with solar panels, storage batteries, fuel celled co-generation units and heat pumped water heaters.
Mobility – The community has a mobility sharing service that encourages residents to share electric cars and bicycles. This reduces traffic in the community, promotes a more active lifestyle and creates convenient ways of travel for each person.
Security – For most people, their family’s safety is of the utmost importance. The town features an integrated security system, which has multiple cameras that are constantly monitored, to keep the environment open with minimal danger.
Healthcare – To promote a healthier environment, top quality healthcare is accessible to all residents of Fujisawa SSC.
Community – Monthly events are organized, which encourage residents to socialize and form a bond with their neighbors. This promotes a closeness in the community, which helps citizens come together to adequately determine what is best for the city’s future development.
Panasonic began as a company that enhanced lifestyles through the application of its products, but have an overall vision of creating a future where ‘smart cities’ dominate on a global scale. Their mission of ‘a better life, a better world’ continues to become a reality, as the company entered a partnership with Denver, Colorado to build their second smart city. The project began in 2016, and is expected to take at least ten years to come to fruition.
Aspects of the project that have already been installed include: WiFi, security cameras, sensors that can monitor the environment, and an energy grid with the ability to power the entire city for 72 hours in case of an emergency. More recently, the developers included the Colorado Department of Transportation in the designing and making of the city’s roadways. Road X, which costs approximately $72 million, aims to reduce accidents by facilitating communication between vehicles and the road’s infrastructure. This would include guidance about the best route, as well as an ability to alert drivers that are drifting out of their lanes.
Infrastructure is also being constructed that will connect an autonomous shuttle, from the city, to bus routes on Denver’s Tower Road. Panasonic believes that the city’s completion will result in a global desire for more smart cities. This is just another example of the way in which technology is improving the world, and the company continues to be a leading edge creator in the field.