Alphabet began working on this project in 2017, committing more than $ 50 million to reduce traffic congestion, carbon emissions and landfill waste using technology. But the plan quickly sparked controversy because of concerns about the amount of citizen data that would be collected, and was widely slammed by privacy campaigners and politicians.
As part of a 1,524-page report that outlines his vision, the Sidewalk Lab proposes a sensor crossing, tracking the movements of everyone and vehicles. The company says this will help move traffic quickly and ensure the walking signal leaves extra time for slow pedestrians, like older people.
Sidewalk Labs said it would create confidence in urban data to handle environmental information, which would provide independent data management and agree on how to collect and use it. But experts warn that there is no guarantee that data trust will overcome issues surrounding privacy, data breaches and algorithm bias.
Waterfront Toronto, the government agency that oversees the construction, said it would continue the project.
Doctoroff said Thursday that the Sidewalk Lab will continue to focus on smart cities and related projects.
“Although we will not pursue this particular project, current health emergencies make us feel stronger about the importance of reorganizing cities for the future,” he said. “This is a vital social endeavor, and the Sidewalk Lab will continue our work to contribute to it.”
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