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The smart city revolution is gathering pace, with year-on-year growth of 17% predicted from now until 2019.
But there is still plenty to do and many challenges that the smart city must rise to, for example, how can technology be applied to combat congestion and mobility in the city and what impact will this have on the nations fleets?
Yet, success is becoming an imperative considering that the 2015 Urban Mobility Scorecard estimates the ever rising cost of city congestion to the US economy to be about $160Bn, with rush hour commuters wasting upwards of 42 hours a year in congestion.
One of the major challenges that need to be addressed before these issues can be tackled, however, is the need for significant infrastructure improvements that will take decades to implement.
The key item is providing adequate communication lines, whether through fibre optic networks or wireless communications. Such networks will require installation and flexible networking to allow individual nodes within the city to communicate. Wireless will probably be required for the first and final communications link, with significant demands on bandwidth. Demands, too, on quality electrical power being required throughout the system and the transition to IPv6 needs to be completed so that each component of the system has a unique and protected id.
While the idea of smart cities communicating with individual vehicles sounds like a distant pipe dream, it does currently exist with the dedicated 5.9Ghz wifi band used for just this role. Despite it being not at the stage where it can be fully operational, the USDOT is working on developing the 5.9Ghz wifi band yet that may not be the final V2V/V2I communications technology. Indeed, perhaps that technology has not yet been invented. It will take a variety of communication carriers and bandwidths, with prioritisation of the data, and safety being the highest priority.