- The Foxconn Technology Group will offer $1 million in cash and in-kind prizes for a new smart city design competition announced Thursday, according to the Milwaukee Business Journal and other media outlets.
- University students in Wisconsin will compete in the “Smart City, Smart Future” program, which aims to find ways to use technology to improve people’s quality of life through factors like environmental sustainability and transportation.
- More details are set to follow at the Smart Futures Summit at the University of Wisconsin-Parkside on August 7.
Foxconn appears to have grand ambitions for this project, and company officials have already made noise about cutting-edge technologies like flying cars, drones and autonomous vehicles (AVs) becoming a reality very soon. Already, the company is looking at expanding its use of drones and introducing “smart” highways that could share data between AVs along Interstate 94.
This program's significance has attracted a variety of partners beyond the University of Wisconsin system and other colleges and universities. Other key partners in the program include the Wisconsin Economic Development Corporation, the Wisconsin Technology Council and the UW-Milwaukee Research Foundation. It is a similar model to the recently-unveiled Georgia Smart Communities Challenge, which encourages local governments to showcase their smart city ideas and compete for grant funding.
Universities typically provide one of the best places for such work as they have extensive research facilities and academics and students willing to participate. Foxconn’s financial backing could create the pathways needed to bring ideas to reality, especially as the company continues to explore ways it can innovate itself.