Google & Canada Conspire on City of the Future

A California internet company wants to build the future of cities. And it will start with 12 acres of brownfield in Canada.

Sidewalk Labs, the “smart city” division of Alphabet (GOOGL), and the city of Toronto want to bring self-driving cars, smart infrastructure and even drone package delivery to a windswept strip of abandoned industrial land.

It’s ambitious. It’s also a huge opportunity for investors.

Smart cities are not a new concept. Architects and futurists have been toying with the idea for decades. In theory, starting from scratch, these should allow urban planners the latitude to build more-efficient civic systems.

This should finally bring to life the future promised by utopian science fiction.

In Singapore, smart city development is part of its DNA. In 1965, Prime Minister Lee Kuan Yew raised the prospect of transforming that area from mudflats to a metropolis. The goal was to take the island city-state from the third to the first world in one generation.

This idea was born out of necessity. Singapore had no resources.

Years later, the government worked with the private sector to build massive desalination plants and reclaim land from the sea. Technology that did not exist when they started. So, it had to be developed.

Today, Singapore is designing a connected city with all the autonomous conveniences of the future. This “Smart Nation” project aims to bring technology to all aspects of its citizens’ lives. It includes systems to help people summon transportation, report environmental issues, access public services on demand, enjoy a cashless society and more.

And now, we’ll soon see another city with a brand-new, and more-digital, identity …

Initially, Sidewalk will invest $50 million in Quayside, a new Toronto waterfront community. Over the course of a year, it will meet with planners and developers to determine the best path forward.

The plan is to build at least 3.3 million square feet of office, commercial and residential space. That includes a new headquarters for Google Canada.


This is a rendering of Sidewalk Labs’ digital infrastructure vision for Quayside. Canada has made a nearly $1 million investment, and Sidewalk has committed $50 million to phase-one development. Their goal: “environmental sustainability, affordability, mobility and economic opportunity.”

The cornerstone of the development is data. Alphabet has become a machine-learning company. From its dominant Search franchise, to its Verily bioscience unit, to Waymo — its autonomous vehicle company — artificial intelligence and the use of Big Data analytics is integral.

Quayside will take data to the next level …

The goal is to use data analytics to improve air quality, traffic, the electrical grid and even trash collection.

Some of the ideas under consideration include modular high-density buildings that could be constructed offsite. Public roads that would be off limits to private vehicles. In Sidewalk’s vision, public space makes room for only autonomous taxibots and buses, package-delivering aerial drones, pedestrians and green space.

Quayside is expected to be a whirlwind of technological innovation.

  • On the first level, autonomous maintenance vehicles will buzz about — collecting and removing trash, and moving freight.
  • A level below, a vast commercial space is planned, a climate controlled retreat from the cold Canadian winters.
  • Another level lower would feature rapid transit systems.

The opportunity for investors is that most of these technologies are in the early stage of development.

In this New Gilded Era of innovation, information technology is progressing so fast, almost anything that can be imagined can become possible. What amounts to a giant test bed for new ideas and processes will only speed development.

Autonomous vehicles, once the stuff of science fiction, are already being tested all over the world. This week, Delphi (DLPH) announced it would buy nuTonomy for $450 million. The Boston-based maker of autonomous vehicle software cut its teeth with taxibots in Singapore. That makes Delphi a stock to watch in coming months and years.

And there is opportunity for makers of sensors, CAD software developers, materials design, 5G network companies and countless other businesses.

Artificial intelligence will also play a role. And Google has that covered, too.

This is a gigantic opportunity investors should seize now.

Best wishes,
Jon Markman

P.S. As smart cities, and the futuristic technology they will contain, come to life, investors will see massive profit opportunities. Alphabet won’t be alone in turning yesterday’s science-fiction dreams into tomorrow’s realities. It’s going to be buying a lot of parts and services … and maybe even the companies themselves! That’s a trend none of us can afford to miss out on. The time to invest in all things “smart” is now … and clicking this link is the smartest way I can think of to start doing just that.

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Comments 6

  1. Joe October 25, 2017

    Total hokum. Google is made of normal human beings, and their management happens to be dictatorial and marxist. Smart cities? Really? Run by the same politicians that can’t run a hot dog stand? Puh-leeze.

    Reply

  2. Robert H. Logan October 25, 2017

    ENJOY a cashless society? You’ve got to be kidding.

    Reply

  3. ROBIN LBERG SR October 25, 2017

    I HAVE A PATENT ON DOMED CITIES AND FLOATING CITIES, IS THERE ANY WAY THAT I COULD BE A PART OF THIS?

    Reply

  4. Don Soards October 25, 2017

    What are the inhabitants going to do to make a living?

    Reply

  5. James Connolly October 26, 2017

    Deliveroo and Uber are becoming a hughe part of living in cities. Humna beings will always need a good public trnasport system living in cities as these eases conhestion. What we will need is AVI automatic vehicle identification, electronic toll charging, we may also need more dual occupancy vehicles and we may also need less single occupancy vehicles. Electronic Cars will be the future. Rapid Transit systems will also be required in terms of more light rail transport. We live in interesting times as the chinese would say. A time of systemic risk and unsystemic risk. We are headed for a boom, in this prosperity, recession, depression, improvements economic cycle that we are in. A big boom even bigger than the last boom.

    Reply

    • ronthekannuck October 28, 2017

      Hi James,

      There is a lot of hype in the future of Toronto… probably due to too much immigration and the resulting housing boom..
      A condo in downtown has tripled in price in the last 10 years.. mostly due to falling interest rates and
      baby boomers selling their big house and moving down as they retire..
      The Province no longer assesses property value… Taxes have been based on selling prices for about the last 20 years.. I fear that Toronto will be as bad as NY City as the long time citizens move to the suburbs and leave the
      packed downtown to escape the density and lack of grass.. Let those who are happy with living in a high density jungle in a 400 square foot one bedroom apartment, without a balcony, do it.. Great for singles, and party/club
      goers, but no place to raise kids.. The world can not fit into Canada, nor can China fit into Toronto..

      These city dwellers will not even own a car, so what will happen to car sales and the jobs that go with them..?
      Not everyone will have a job, if computers and robots do all the work… Will there be only the affluent and the peasants in the future, when Uber does not even use a driver and a drone delivers your pizza…

      What will there be for jobs, when telemarketing is replaced with an automated robot and elevator repairs are contracted out to some suburban company who has to call in a contractor because they do not have full time
      repair people? No Lansdcaping, no hairdressers, no McDs servers, and no jobs at Google when there is no
      more money to buy the disposable crap that needs replacing every two years or less.
      Will a refrigerator last 20 years or more, like it used to ?

      Reply