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Industry 4.0: Evolving Smart Cities into Smart Corridors

By Ken Briodagh

Industry 4.0 has been driving the Industrial IoT (IIoT) for many years now. Now, with the beginnings of Smart Corridors springing up between and among cities all over the world, it’s time for Smart Cities to begin the shift to IoT 2.0.

What is a ‘Smart Corridor’?

The Smart Corridor is a process of connecting smart infrastructure assets along transportation corridors within and between Smart Cities. These corridors are being developed around the world.

Smart Corridors have several attributes in common, although each is customized to the needs and capabilities of the communities along the Corridor.

These common attributes include:

  • The ability to monitor traffic along the corridor and provide real-time information to help manage trade and transportation infrastructure, and monitor shipments
  • Eased trade and transport logistics through automated and IoT-enabled processes
  • Provision and maintenance of transport corridor infrastructure and safety measures

One key enabler of Smart Corridor initiatives in the US is The Autonomy Institute. It is involved in several Smart Corridor plans, including with several Texas cities and agencies on the 90-mile SH-130 corridor. This intelligent corridor is planned to support automated freight and delivery, provide services for intelligent and autonomous vehicles, and offer leading edge technology to the communities nearby.

Jeff DeCoux, Chairman, The Autonomy Institute, will be a featured speaker at the upcoming Intelligent Infrastructure event by Topio Networks, in Austin, TX, April 28-29, and he’ll be talking about exactly this intersection of the Smart City and Industry 4.0, via Smart Infrastructure Corridors.

One key element of every Intelligent Corridor will be the active Public Infrastructure Network Nodes (PINN) that will enable the required edge computing, NextG, Broadband, and charging stations along and within the Corridor and the connected Smart Cities. These PINN clusters are predicted to be a critical element of the next generation Smart City and Industry 4.0 infrastructure build-up.

For the SH130 project, the partners are reportedly developing an integrated deployment plan within which PINNs will support broadband, advanced wireless, connected systems sensors, assured position-navigation-timing, charging infrastructure, edge computing, and much more.

According to the state DOT, Texas is just getting started, with another planned Smart Corridor along I-45 to begin ramping up soon.

This growth in the US is being helped along through several federal programs and agencies tasked with developing programs to advance commercial and economic growth along with unified standards and operational systems. The US Department of Transportation uses programs like CARMA and VOICES, and is advancing critical services like Assured Position, Navigation, and Timing. NASA has the AAM programs and has added both EVAA and Icarous. The FAA has created the Beyond program, while DOE and NREL are working on establishing a resilient grid. The National Science Foundation and DARPA are helping the United States develop an Autonomous Spectrum through the RINGS and DARPA Spectrum Programs.

All of these top-down plans need bottom-up investment and support from companies in these areas that are forward-thinking and looking to get into the Smart Corridor and Smart City spaces now, while it’s still a green field. Check out the Intelligent Infrastructure event this month to meet some of the first.


Ken Briodagh is a storyteller, writer and editor with about two decades of experience under his belt. He is in love with technology and if he had his druthers would beta test everything from shoe phones to flying cars.

Edited by Maurice Nagle
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