Alphabet started work on the project in 2017, pledging over $ 50 million to reduce traffic congestion, carbon emissions and landfill waste using technology. But the plan quickly sparked controversy because of concerns about the amount of citizen data it would collect and was largely rejected by privacy activists and politicians.
As part of a 1,524-page report that exposes its vision, Sidewalk Labs has proposed crossings with sensors, monitoring the movement of all people and vehicles. The company said this would help move traffic quickly and ensure that walk signals leave more time for slow walkers, such as the elderly.
Sidewalk Labs said it would create an urban data trust to manage neighborhood information, which would provide independent data management and approve the way it is collected and used. But experts have warned that there is no guarantee that data trusts will address issues related to privacy, data breaches and distorted algorithms.
Waterfront Toronto, the government agency that oversees development, has said it will continue with the project.
Doctoroff said Thursday that Sidewalk Labs will continue to focus on smart cities and related projects.
“While we will not pursue this particular project, the current health emergency makes us feel even more strongly about the importance of reinventing cities for the future,” he said. “This is a vital effort for society and Sidewalk Labs will continue our work to contribute to it.”
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