Bill Gates Plans to Build a Smart City in Arizona

Tuesday, November 14, 2017 - 15:57

Microsoft co-founder Bill Gates is spending $80 million to build a "smart city" in Arizona which will feature driverless cars and "cutting-edge" technology.

The plan is including plans for digital infrastructure like data centers and autonomous logistics hubs as well as schools and public spaces, according to a statement by the firm.

Mr. Gates' goal is to create a smart city called Belmont on the nearly 25,000 acres of land. Belmont Partners, one of the Microsoft founder's investment firms, has spent $80m (£61.1m) on buying and developing the new community near Tonopah, west of Phoenix.

"Belmont will create a forward-thinking community with a communication and infrastructure spine that embraces cutting-edge technology, designed around high-speed digital networks, data centers, new manufacturing technologies and distribution models, autonomous vehicles and autonomous logistics hubs," the firm said in a statement Wednesday.

The investment comes amid growing interest in smart cities, communities that use technology to keep streets clean by alerting the sanitation department when public garbage bins are full, for example. Communities that allow residents to unlock their office door and turn on their computer before even arriving at work. Places where residents can use their phones to reserve and get directions to a parking space.

Belmont Partners has spent $80 million on the plot of land for the proposed community, which would be comparable in size and population to nearby Tempe -- 40 square miles and about 160,000 people, the firm said in a statement.

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