Autonomous driving is only a small building block for connecting entire cities. In Smart Cities
traffic, logistics, administration, energy and food supplies are highly technologized and automated. Here too, pilot projects are indispensable for testing the future of how we are to live together in the most realistic conditions possible. In the south of Beijing, for example, a gigantic new airport
and an 1,100 kilometer railroad network for new high-speed trains are under construction. Each is a mega-project but both are just first steps towards an even greater objective: the development of the smart Chinese metropolitan region Jing-Jin-Ji, which is to transform the three mega-cities of Beijing, Tianjin and Heibei into a showcase connected living region. The planners are benefiting from experiences with similar projects like Masdar, a $22 billion eco-concept city in Abu Dhabi that has been under development for ten years with the goal of transforming it into a CO2
-neutral city with highly technologized food, energy and water supply and communications and transportation infrastructure. The experiences of Jing-Jin-Ji’s planners are already flowing into the next large-scale connected project: NEOM
, a 26,500 square kilometer city that is taking shape between Saudi Arabia, Jordan and Egypt as a mixture of technology park, tourist attraction and space suitable for everyday living. When laying the foundation stone, the planners were already relying on connected solutions and robots for optimized processes, shorter construction stages and greater energy efficiency. Ground has yet to be broken but if the project is realized successfully, NEOM will be another trailblazer for urban planners, politicians and companies and a further milestone for IoT applications.