Smart City, Smart Strategy

Author: Jake Herington

Newcastle, Australia is a city on the rise. Booming infrastructure, intuitive design and strategic planning has laid the foundations for Newcastle’s transition to a “smart and innovative city.” The driving force behind this shift is the City Councils’ ambitious ‘Smart City Strategy’, which aims to develop a culture and community around innovation and creativity.

If you didn’t know, Elite Robotics is based in Newcastle, and we couldn’t be more excited to see this strategy in action. Collaboration between government and industry is a key component of the strategy, so this week’s blog post will look at how Elite Robotics’ vision of smart, reliable automation can be a part of a new era of innovation in Newcastle.

The Smart City Strategy focuses on six major objectives outlined in the ‘Smart City Mandala’. The ‘Smart Living’ objective aligns perfectly with our company’s goals. The autonomous technology being developed here at Elite Robotics could be implemented in the councils’ plan to provide the community with smart technology in the public space, improving city amenity. If we look at other smart cities, like Lyon, France for example, who have introduced a driverless minibus service able to ferry up to 15 people at a time, we can see the potential for a similar idea to be implemented in Newcastle. The technology could service parts of the city not as easily accessible by the new light rail system or the traditional public bus service. The service could also be used by members of the public who’s particular needs aren’t fully catered for by current public transport system.

Researchers at the University of Leeds in England are working on a project that will see a fleet of robots act essentially as a city’s’ ‘white blood cells’, repairing infrastructure such as road potholes, broken street lights and cracked pipes before it becomes a major problem. Could we see something like this happening in Newcastle? Who knows, but the potential is there.

The Smart Governance objective of the Smart City Mandala defines a framework for collaboration between government, industry and business, focusing on innovation led by the start-up sector. Being a start-up ourselves – the prospect of working with other creative and innovative minds is very exciting. We want to disrupt thinking and change the negative perception that autonomous technology will lead only to lost jobs and livelihood. Through collaboration, we want to demonstrate how the automation of mundane tasks requiring minimal skill can actually increase jobs, by freeing up a huge portion the cities workforce to tackle much more important problems. We believe it can accelerate growth and lead to a smarter, more efficient city.

Access and utilisation of city data is another great aspect of the Smart City Strategy that will lead to innovation. With this data, problems can be more easily identified leading to more innovative solutions, which we think automation can play a big role.

The Newcastle City Councils’ Smart City Strategy is an impressive first step towards turning Newcastle into a global leader in innovation. Here at Elite Robotics, we are confident that through collaboration and creative, innovative thinking, the goals outlined in the strategy will be achieved, and we couldn’t be more excited to be a part of it.

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