sidewalk labs toronto

Google to start testing tech for Toronto's neighbourhood of the future

The futuristic mini-city of Alphabet's dreams is coming to fruition faster than anyone might have speculated.

If all goes well, the first residents of "Quayside" could be moving in as early as 2022 – just two years after Google's parent company strikes ground on its first ever smart-city project, and four years after it starts testing out new technologies in Toronto.

That's right – we could start seeing signs of Google's proposed, high-tech enhancements around the city in just a few months.

Alphabet's urban innovation arm, Sidewalk Labs, released its first timeline this week for the development of a new 12-acre community along Toronto's eastern waterfront.

CEO Dan Doctoroff told Reuters in an interview published Monday that building plans are expected to be approved by the Waterfront Toronto and Sidewalk Labs boards by the end of 2018.

They're aiming to start construction in 2020, though Sidewalk Labs "will begin testing some of the proposed technologies this summer.

They have already invested $50 million into testing and engagement this year. Google reportedly plans to lease a waterfront office in Toronto this summer where Sidewalk Labs can showcase some of the technologies planned for Quayside.

"Working together with the local community, Sidewalk Toronto aspires to create a place that encourages innovation around energy, waste, and other environmental challenges to protect the planet," read a press release announcing the massive project in October.

"A place that provides a range of transportation options that are more affordable, safe, and convenient than the private car; a place that embraces adaptable buildings and new construction methods to reduce the cost of housing and retail space," it continued.

"A place that is enhanced by digital technology and data without giving up the privacy and security that everyone deserves."

Not everyone is entirely convinced in regards to the last point, but the promise of features like autonomous vehicles, a thermal grid and modular buildings are exciting.

It remains to be seen what Sidewalk Labs will start testing this summer.

Here's to hoping it has something to do with consumer-facing robots.

Lead photo by

Sidewalk Toronto


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