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Smart city infrastructure gets fuel from self-driving cars, blockchain

by Lauren Horwitz

Managing Editor, Cisco.com

How could smart city technology, such as blockchain combined with self-driving cars, aid the strain on city resources from exploding population?

By the year 2050, city populations are due to explode. Some estimates suggest two-thirds of the world’s population will live in cities by 2050.

“It’s is nothing short of a revolution,” said Jonathan Reichental, CIO of the city of Palo Alto.

This dramatic growth puts strain on city services like delivery clean water, dealing with city smog, reducing traffic congestion and more. Smart city infrastructure uses technologies like Internet of Things (IoT)-connected devices to gather data and bring greater efficiencies to city services. With IoT sensors installed in traffic lights, cars can move more efficiently through intersections and city officials can determine water and air quality. IoT-enabled cameras in a city center can help monitor the area for safety.

Smart infrastructure, enabled by technologies like IoT sensors, can help deal with the impact of these population explosions: environmental strains, safety concerns and demand for services

Smart city infrastructure will also benefit from new technologies such as blockchain, a distributed ledger to enable secure transactions, and autonomous vehicles. Combined with blockchain, self-driving cars could become agents in transactions, parking and charging themselves, paying tolls, all without a credit card.

In this podcast, Cisco.com and Reichental discuss how smart city infrastructure and smart city technology, including autonomous cars, could signal a new chapter in city infrastructure efficiency.

“We can’t solve 21st-century issues with 20th-century technology; we need to use 21st-century technology” Reichental said. “And to me that is what blockchain, machine learning provides us with.”

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Lauren Horwitz

Lauren Horwitz is the managing editor of Cisco.com, where she covers the IT infrastructure market and develops content strategy. Previously, Horwitz was a senior executive editor in the Business Applications and Architecture group at TechTarget;, a senior editor at Cutter Consortium, an IT research firm; and an editor at the American Prospect, a political journal. She has received awards from American Society of Business Publication Editors (ASBPE), a min Best of the Web award and the Kimmerling Prize for best graduate paper for her editing work on the journal article "The Fluid Jurisprudence of Israel's Emergency Powers.”