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Cars Talk, Firetrucks Fly, and Robots Do Surgery in This Lab Outside Seoul

Faster cellphones are coming. So are cities where everything is connected.
relates to Cars Talk, Firetrucks Fly, and Robots Do Surgery in This Lab Outside Seoul

Illustration: Thomas Colligan for Bloomberg Businessweek

Fifth-generation wireless networks, the first of which will come fully online early next year, promise faster downloads and more bandwidth for smartphones. Yet the real promise of 5G involves connecting everything besides phones, a transformation that could reorder urban life. But how? That’s the South Korean question researchers are exploring at Pangyo Zero City, an open-air lab next to Seoul. The $720 million project, developed by the provincial government and a state housing company, offers a preview of the most dramatic changes.

Roads within the district will be equipped with cameras and laser sensors to look for pedestrians and detect road conditions, then transmit their locations to a central control room, which will then shoot the information to driverless cars.