At a panel discussion at CES today, the US Department of Transportation announced that the winner of its Smart City Challenge — a contest to award $40 million to one medium-size American city for next-gen infrastructure — will also get collision avoidance technology for every bus in the city's transit system. The tech comes from Mobileye, the Israeli firm that supplies autonomous and semi-autonomous driving sensors and systems to a number of the world's biggest automakers. (Tesla, which recently deployed its Autopilot feature, also uses Mobileye's components.)
The Mobileye Shield+ system involves an array of cameras retrofitted to existing buses, helping drivers "avoid and mitigate imminent collisions and protect road users including cyclists, pedestrians, and motorcyclists," according to the DOT release. Alerts warn drivers when they're about to hit someone, and later, the alerts are uploaded and aggregated to build a map to see where the most dangerous hotspots are — and that, theoretically, can help city planners make better decisions when designing transit systems and pathways.
"It's natural to take that kind of technology into the city, where you have pedestrians and cyclists," said Amnon Shashua, Mobileye's CTO, a participant in today's panel alongside USDOT Secretary Anthony Foxx.
The Smart City Challenge, which is open to cities with fewer than 850,000 people, is in the process of soliciting proposals from cities on how to best spend the $40 million in grant money. Applications are due on February 4th.