Smart Cities is an umbrella term for the integration of technology into existing and newly built infrastructure. These technologies most often take the form of miniaturized sensors, cameras, receivers, and transmitters that can be installed cheaply and in large quantities. Once installed, these devices are used to collect metadata about their environment that can then be translated into digestible information. Some of these technologies are designed to react in real-time to environmental data, while others are focused on studying long-term trends. Regardless of their time horizon, these technologies provide invaluable information to city officials in every sector from transportation to public health. For this reason, the deployment of smart cities technologies has emerged as a major trend in urban development.
An increasingly complex world requires an ever-expanding web of technologies and networks to ensure that our cities remain competitive. The integration of adaptive technology with static infrastructure provides opportunities for 20th century projects to meet the needs of a 21st century world with relatively minor investment. It is the merging of concrete and computers, silicon and steel. Much like autonomous vehicles, the smart cities of the future will be defined by efficiency. Efficiency in transportation, efficiency in information dissemination, and efficiency in infrastructure expenditures. Though deployment is still in its infancy in many areas, this will be an area of heightened interest for those interested in sustainability, cities, and everywhere in between.