There is no stopping wireless technology from dominating the world, and Salt Lake City will likely use a sophisticated network to test the first generation of self-driving cars, smart infrastructure, and more.

On Monday, a team of researchers led by the University of Utah School of Computing professor Kobus Van der Merwe announced that they had chosen Salt Lake City to be the location of their first wireless technology lab.

“We’re going to build this platform to enable wireless research,” Van der Merwe, was quoted as saying. “Therein lies the challenge, because we don’t know. We want to build access to research when we don’t know what it might be.”

According to the researchers, a portion of downtown Salt Lake City has been chosen to be one of the four sites that will host a city-wide advanced wireless testbed.

This is where the future generation of wireless technology will be tested. Ranging from self-driving cars, flying taxis, and others beyond 5G and smartphone technology, it will soon become a hotbed of experimentation and innovation.

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The platform is known as Platform for Open Wireless Data-driven Experimental Research. It is said to be part of a program established by the National Science Foundation together with a group of 28 companies and associations called Platforms for Advanced Wireless Research (PAWR).

The testbed will cover an area from West Temple to the University of Utah campus and from 2nd Avenue to 500 South. PAWR plans to build the “smart city” within the next three years.

University buses and city-owned vehicles including parking-enforcement cars and sanitation trucks will also be equipped with 60 wireless nodes.

“The touch-screen interface, the GPS capability, the wireless connectivity — every single one of those has its roots in fundamental research that’s 10 or 20 years old,” Erwin Gianchandani, NSF’s Deputy Assistant Director for computer and information science and engineering, said.

“The same sort of realization could happen 10 years hence, with the wireless sector and the wireless ecosystem, if these platforms are a success.”

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According to Van der Merwe, the possibilities are endless with their new project.

Through NSF, the federal government will be allocating half the $100 USD million funding to build the testbeds at four locations in the country. The remainder of the funding will come from wireless industry investors.

Where do you think wireless technology will bring us in the next few years?

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