KUSA - Panasonic is best known for its work in electronics, but the company is moving into new markets and counting on a need for urban areas to go high-tech in the future.
That’s why Panasonic has installed what it calls a "smart city" infrastructure on 400-acres off of Pena Boulevard. The goal is to turn the area into a “smart city” by 2026. This is all part of a much larger Panasonic program called CityNow.
Inside the Panasonic building, you’ll find the Smart City Innovation Showcase that includes a high-tech street with LED lighting on poles that double as cell towers. Video security cameras keep a watchful eye on everything, and digital ads are customized for the person walking by. Sensors on the poles can measure the air quality, detect flooding and help weathercasters make predictions at the hyperlocal level.
Outside the building, Panasonic has prepared the area for autonomous vehicles, including a self-driving shuttle that connects a nearby light rail station to bus routes throughout the Denver area.
Panasonic and the Colorado Department of Transportation have partnered on a $72 million connected vehicle project. As part of this partnership, on a 90-mile stretch of a highway, the two will launch a high-tech connected vehicle data platform that will "talk" to cars, providing drivers with real-time data about ways to get around traffic jams and the creation of "virtual guardrails" that alert a driver of unsafe conditions. The platform will then expand to support statewide traffic operations, safety, and maintenance.
This is Panasonic's first rollout of CityNow in the U.S. but a few years ago the company completed work on the Fujisawa Sustainable Smart Town, 30 miles west of Tokyo. Panasonic hooked up 1,000 new homes to a solar-powered smart grid and to accommodate peak electricity demands the company also built a solar farm south of the city and 440 yards of solar cells along a highway.