Orlando – “The City Beautiful” – is a US city situated in Orange County, Florida. You’re probably familiar with this city thanks to its numerous theme parks that contributed to make it the top US tourist destination. But Orlando has much more to offer other than theme parks and tourist attractions.
Throughout the years, Orlando has developed a solid high-tech industry, leading continuous improvements in fields such as virtual reality, augmented reality, aerospace, gaming, app and software development, modeling, simulation, healthcare IT, and financial technologies. The success of the city in the technology sector has attracted various international high-tech companies that established their facilities in this futuristic city. Some examples include Thales, Siemens, and Mazor Robotics.
Thanks to its solid high-tech sector, Orlando has been designated as a “smart city,” and has been awarded two Smart Cities awards. This means that the city is exploiting its technology to solve urban problems, improve the residents’ quality of life, protect the environment, increase government’s efficiency, and engage the citizens. In line with its smart city goals, Orlando has recently developed an action plan named “Future Ready City Master Plan,” which aims to guide Orlando towards innovation, resilience, and technological advancement. Moreover, the city is working on various smart cities initiatives that are making Orlando a cutting-edge place. Here are three good futuristic examples.
1. The Automated Vehicle Proving Grounds Pilot
In 2017, the U.S. department of transportation designated 10 automated vehicle proving grounds to encourage the pilot testing of new automated vehicles technologies. Thanks to the collaboration of the Central Florida Automated Vehicle Partners, Orlando has been included in the list, becoming one of the nation’s top cluster for research and development of automated vehicles across all modes of travel. Central Florida boasts a growing list of public and private companies working on innovative solutions to improve connectivity. Two of them are Beep and NAVYA, which two years ago collaborated to launch the first driverless electric shuttles in the Lake Nona community of Orlando.
2. Fleet Farming
Fleet Farming is a non-profit urban agriculture program that transforms lawn spaces located in urban environments into micro-farms or edible gardens. The aim of the project is to increase local food accessibility by fostering economic, social and environmental changes. The project – which is currently exclusive to the Orlando area – has been developed by IDEAS for Us, an Orlando-based organization that develops innovative environmental solutions to advance environmental action worldwide.
3. The Creative Village
The Creative Village is a 68-acre mixed-use and transit oriented smart district built upon the success of Orlando’s digital media industry. Located right in the heart of Downtown Orlando, the district – which is scheduled to be completed by the third quarter of 2021 – will provide opportunities for its students, residents, and visitors to “gather, play, and enjoy the outdoors.” The construction of the Creative Village follows several core principles of responsible and sustainable development. Once completed, the new smart district will generate about 5,000 permanent jobs in the local economy, representing more than $1.5 billion in new development.