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Dec 26, 2018

Every once in a while, an old problem and big idea come together to turn into an innovation that eventually becomes everyday technology that benefits everyone.  In the past year, we have conducted several demonstration projects of cutting-edge technologies to evaluate their feasibility and sustainability in the long run as our city grows and adapts to increasingly complex needs.

The nation's first driverless shuttle for public use carried passengers around the Fremont East Entertainment District.  The autonomous vehicle manufactured by Navya launched in November of 2017. Over 32,000 locals and tourists took advantage of the free ride which introduced them to the concept of a vehicle safely navigating busy city streets filled with cars and pedestrians solely relying on sensors and computers to make decisions quickly and accurately.  Passengers boarding the shuttle didn’t see a steering wheel or a brake pedal; rather, technology-driven tools such as cameras, GPS, LiDAR sensors and wireless interaction with traffic signals combined to make driving decisions.   The shuttle's sponsors, AAA and Keolis North America, had a host at the boarding stations and on board the vehicle to answer questions and to survey passengers for their reaction to the driverless vehicle experience.  The shuttle maintained a rating of 4.9 out of 5 passenger rating and 98% of riders would recommend the driverless shuttle experience to their friends or family. 

A Connected Corridor is a vision for surface streets to be outfitted with Connected Vehicle (CV) communications infrastructure enabling exchange of information with vehicles that travel on our roadways.  The vehicles are able to communicate with other vehicles (Vehicle-to-Vehicle, V2V) and to city owned infrastructure (Vehicle-to-Infrastructure, V2I) to allow for deployment of a number of applications to improve safety for all road users and operational efficiencies.  The backbone of the Connected Corridors is the broadcast of Signal-Phase and Timing (SPaT) information to vehicles directly from traffic signal controllers along the corridors.  SPaT data can enable a number of high-value applications including autonomous vehicle operation. These connected corridors are located in downtown Las Vegas; more roadways will be outfitted in the very near future.

The GOVegas ecosystem, which weaves together a mix of mobile, web, Wi-Fi, streaming media and conversational computing, has grown rapidly this year.  This suite of digital services enables the public to engage with the city when they want, how they want, any time they want.  With these tools, the public can submit requests, check status of permits, stream KCLV content and more.  Whether a person prefers to use a computer, a smart tablet, a mobile phone, Apple TV, Roku or Amazon Echo and Show, they can view video and ask questions, and be informed of activities, events and news about the city.  They can use CLV skills on the personal-digital-assistant Alexa or visit the Innovate.Vegas website. Viewers can now use their Apple TV device, as well as the Roku streaming media player, to search for and view videos featuring City news, events and activities any time.  

Technology is advancing at a rapid rate, which is providing new tools to cities.  These advancements can help us provide enhanced services to our residents and visitors and operate more efficiently.