Columbus was the winner of the inaugural Smart Cities challenge from the DOT. Thinkstock / styxclick

Things in IoT You Need to Know This Week: June 20 June 24

This week, the winner of the Department of Transportation was announced. The Wall Street Journal ran prominent stories about the ethics of self-driving cars and reported on a large IoT deal involving the U.S. State Department. Meanwhile, Samsung set aside $1.2 billion for IoT projects.

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Columbus Wins $140 Million in DOT's Smart City Challenge

Ohio’s capital emerged victorious against six other cities in the inaugural Smart City Challenge, who had been selected from a total pool of 78 entrants. The city’s plan includes installing three self-driving shuttles to link together a bus rapid transit hub and a shopping neighborhood. Connected traffic lights will help keep traffic flowing while the city will also roll out an app for ride sharing. In addition, the city wants to use Big Data technologies to address health problems. The plan won $40 million from the U.S. Department of Transportation, an additional $10 from Microsoft veteran Paul Allen’s firm Vulcan Inc., as well as an additional $90 from local groups.

WSJ Asks: Would You Buy a Car That Might Decide to Kill You?

Designers of self-driving cars will need to consider thorny ethical dilemmas such as whether it should possibly sacrifice its passengers to avoid hurting others. Or whether it is better to swerve to miss one pedestrian at the risk of hitting another, writes the Wall Street Journal. But deciding which lives to save in a crash is a choice that the computer within a self-driving car must make nearly instantaneously. A recent survey found that the majority of U.S. residents support so-called utilitarian ethics, which would suggest reducing the overall number of fatalities in a crash under any circumstance. The majority of those surveyed, however, would prefer not to ride in such self-driving vehicles themselves.

U.S. Department of State Doubles Down on the IoT

The government agency has struck a deal with the company C3 IoT to create an analytics platform to track the energy use of 22,000 buildings in more than 190 countries. Potentially worth up to $25 million, the deal will give the State Department the ability to monitor its energy management in real time and predict potential failures before they happen. C3 IoT’s platform runs on top of Amazon Web Services (AWS).

Samsung Dedicates $1.2 Billion for IoT Projects

The Korean technology behemoth has one of the biggest R&D budgets in the world. Now, it has announced plans to invest $1.2 billion on IoT development in the United States in the next four years. 

In a recent address, the company's CEO Dr. Oh-Hyun Kwon, called for the industry to begin “start talking and thinking differently about IoT” to focus on how the technology could affect and benefit people individually and society at-large.

The company plans on having a dialogue regarding IoT legislation with the U.S. government.

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