Following reports from earlier this month that a deal may be close, Sidewalk Labs has now been granted the go-ahead to assist in building out a mixed-use development along part of Toronto's waterfront. Although details of the deal are still somewhat thin on the ground, the technology company is said to be committed to investing around $50 million during the testing and planning phases. The new neighborhood, in the meantime, will be called "Quayside" and will serve as a real-world concept for what the company hopes the city of the future will be. As an Alphabet Inc. subsidiary, it should come as no surprise that what little is known of the project's specifics centers around technology. However, according to the chief executive of Sidewalk Labs, Dan Doctoroff, the primary focus will be on incorporating smart technologies into the infrastructure itself.
As to what those technologies will be, there are a few details to be had. Although no specific timeframe has been given, Sidewalk Labs does plan to incorporate technologies intended to assist self-driving vehicles over time. That could cover a wide array of technologies, however, and it may be best not to speculate too much until something more concrete is announced. Meanwhile, sensor-based technologies will be tackled first with the goal of assisting in the management of crowds and traffic. Sidewalk Inc tentatively hopes to begin testing those inclusions 2018. It is also known that the company plans to house a population of around 5,000 residents and the same number of workers over the next three to four years. Signing off on the deal, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau hopes to eventual house tens of thousands in the development. Upon completion of the project, it is also reported that Google plans to move its Canadian headquarters to Quayside, including around 300 Googlers.
With regard to other details about the project, Sidewalk Labs has previously indicated that it would like to use technology to create a city with a low carbon footprint and lower living expenses. It isn't immediately clear how that will be accomplished, but the company has hinted that could begin to be undertaken by addressing issues with transportation and commuting. Looking at other Sidewalk Labs projects, the company could also incorporate technologies it has already put in other cities – such as infrastructure-based Wi-Fi hotspots. In the meantime, if the project is successful, the company is expected to be granted further projects by Waterfront Toronto.