A smart city is a city that is better able to cope with the demands of an increasingly over-populated, more globalised world. A smart city will be a city that is highly data-driven, demanding that world leaders understand technology such as the Internet of Things (IoT), Artificial Intelligence, and the myriad of digital technologies now available.
The idea of a smart city originated as “a development that meets the needs of the present without compromising the ability of future generations to meet their own needs.”(i) A city is smart or sustainable when it is turned into a “self-sufficient, economic, social and environmental system.”(ii)
In terms of urban mobility challenges, it is forecast that by 2050, seventy percent of the world’s population will reside in cities – which will mean an increase in carbon emissions by five times, an increase in the cost of living by four times and travel time will increase by up to three times the current rate. Transport congestion, pollution, environmental sustainability and over-crowding will also be issues to contend with.
In order to manage these problems, the Autonomous Vehicle (AV) presents itself, along with other modern technology, to exist to help make our lives easier. It is estimated that by 2040, four out of every ten vehicles on the road will be autonomous.(iii) “Autonomous vehicles play a key role in addressing current challenges to develop smarter and safer cities,”(iv) with studies showing that AVs can cut urban travel time by a third and reduce greenhouse emissions by two thirds, with 30% less vehicles in already crowded cities.(v)
To develop cities in order to make them “smart” also entails making them more “inclusive, safe, resilient and sustainable.”(vi) This will also involve considerations such as the need for higher data transfer speeds, greater storage capacities, better sensors, and faster vehicle-to-vehicle infrastructure exchanges as we contend with modern technologies to alleviate the changing situation.
There will also be relevant legal, social, and ethical implications as a result, including issues such as environmental impact, regulating traffic and accidents, and consequent privacy and cyber security risks.
In the OneWorld Robotics Competition, students will have to consider all of these challenges through their application of robotics.
The OneWorld Robotics Competition challenges students from Years 7, 8, and 9 from all over the globe to apply STEAM-related skills through robotics to solve real-world problems. Area Competitions will be held over two days, where teams compete in technical challenges as well as present a legal, social, and ethical solutions to AV application in Smart Cities.
The Global Competition will involve the top three teams from all Area Competitions competiting over five days. Students will have their projects assessed by a panel of industry experts. As the students take on the timely category of “Smart Cities” they will contemplate topics such as the benefit of Autonomous Vehicles in alleviating the problems associated with transport congestion and over-population, while honing their critical thinking skills.
i. Autonomous Vehicles for Smart and Sustainable Cities: An In-Depth Exploration of Privacy and Cybersecurity Implications, Hazel Si Min Lim and Araz Taeihagh, National University of Singapore
iii. Autonomous Driving: The Emerging Battlefield, www.accenture.com
iv.How Autonomous Vehicles Are Driving Change for Smarter Cities, www.information-age.com
vi. United Nations (UN), 2030 Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs)