Thursday will be a big day for seven U.S. cities in the running to win the the U.S. Department of Transportation’s Smart City Challenge.
It’s the last chance for the competition finalists to make their pitch to become the U.S. DOT’s first “Smart City”. Mayors from the cities will give it their all in a live webcast at 2pm EST on June 9th.
There is $40 million at stake that will go to the winning city with the best plan to fully integrate innovative technologies like self-driving cars, connected cars and smart sensors, into its transportation network.
The agency says 78 cities applied for the challenge. The seven finalist cities, with populations of 200,000 to 850,000, are:
- Pittsburgh, PA
- Columbus, OH
- Austin, TX
- Denver, CO
- San Francisco, CA
- Portland, OR
- Kansas City, MO
One automaker has a particular interest in the outcome, and that’s Honda.
Honda is endorsing Columbus’s bid to win the challenge, which makes sense given Columbus is about 30 miles from Honda’s first and largest manufacturing base in the U.S. and the North American hub for the company’s significant research and development operations. (It’s building its new 2017 Acura NSX in Marysville, just north of Columbus.)
The automaker says if Columbus wins, Honda will partner with the city on a number of innovations including a Connected Car effort. Honda says it plans to focus on data integration, autonomous vehicles, connected vehicles, and implementing advanced sensors and cameras at intersections. It will also make electric and plug-in hybrids available for city use, including the soon to be released Clarity Plug-In Hybrid. Another focus will be on EV charging requirements.
You can check out all the original Smart City Challenge candidates in the infographic below.
Related Video: U.S. DOT Smart City Challenge