The city of San Diego in California is set to get a whole lot smarter – and no, we’re not talking about school kids getting better grades.
Instead, the city is to start installing smart streetlights, which use cameras and sensors to monitor traffic, weather conditions and even listen for gunshots.
The Current CityIQ sensors, to appear on 3,200 lights, will be installed by GE and AT&T as part of the Smart Cities programme debuted at CES 2017 in Las Vegas.
One of the major benefits of these smart streetlights is how they help monitor traffic. Using real-time sensor data, the streetlights will be able to direct drivers to free parking spaces and ease traffic jams.
AT&T is taking care of the data side of things, while GE will deal with powering the streetlights. The smart streetlights are just part of a $30 million facelift the city’s lighting system is getting: a further 14,000 LED lights hope to reduce energy costs by up to $2.4 million.
Other uses for the smart streetlights will be tackling crime (as they’ll be able to detect gunshots), monitoring air quality and weather updates.
“Fostering innovation and improving infrastructure are important to enhancing the lives of all San Diegans,” San Diego Mayor Kevin Faulconer said. “This new technology will give the city and developers the opportunity to make our neighbourhoods safer and smarter.”
As with anything in the Internet of Things, security issues have, of course, been raised. However a spokesman for San Diego’s mayor told Reuters that “it’s anonymous data with no personal identifiers”, while the footage captured by the cameras isn’t as detailed as security camera images.
This is likely to be only the beginning for the project, which could be expanded by a further 3,000 sensors later in the year.
If these new streetlights mean that you no longer have to drive around in circles desperately searching for a park, then sign us up.