Alphabet is planning to build a city of the future, starting with a downtown section in Toronto.
The goal is to create a proving ground for technology-backed urban sites across the globe. In this unique project Sidewalk Labs, an Alphabet subsidiary, will develop Quayside, a 12-acre waterfront area, with the intention of expanding it across 800 acres of post-industrial waterfront property. Included in the proposed new development are modular housing, traffic lights that detect pedestrians, self-driving shuttles, and robots that deliver freight.
Sidewalk’s proposal also stated that the city of Toronto would have to exempt or waive several current regulations in areas like transportation, energy, and building codes in order to build its vision of a futuristic city.
Canadian prime minister Justin Trudeau and Alphabet chairman Eric Schmidt recently confirmed the deal in Toronto.
For Alphabet, the project is an opportunity to try new ways of using data and technology in the real world. Mr Schmidt said that it is not a random undertaking- the project culminates nearly 10 years of thought into how technology could improve everyone’s life.
Although there has been an anti-big tech movement in the US, where politicians have been struggling against the increasing influence of Amazon, Facebook, and Alphabet, the latter’s effort to build in cities has not been deterred.