DETROIT, May 12, 2016 /PRNewswire/ -- Imagine a morning commute where your car alerts you of potholes and the nearest available parking spot, pays for parking automatically and signals your office to brew a fresh cup of coffee, turn on your computer and adjust the thermostat to your preferred temperature. These visions could be closer than you think thanks to NextChallenge: Smart Cities, a global competition challenging innovators to find hardware and software technology solutions to address unmet challenges facing urban areas.
"Urban populations are on the rise, which is leading to challenges related to safety, mobility, emissions, accessibility, and congestion," said Jean Redfield, president and CEO, NextEnergy. "This challenge is designed to identify new innovations to address those issues, with added benefits of identifying technology opportunities that can create new business models and drive economic development."
NextEnergy, one of the United States' leading accelerators of advanced energy and transportation technologies, DENSO, DTE Energy and Wells Fargo are coming together to challenge technology providers – both at the individual innovator and organization level – to find hardware and software technology solutions within one or more of the following categories: smart parking, smart transportation, smart infrastructure, and smart buildings. Innovations should be connected, interactive and data driven (i.e., "smart"), contribute to safer and more efficient places for people to live and work, and have low environmental impact.
The winner of NextChallenge: Smart Cities will be awarded up to $80,000 in grant funding from Wells Fargo to demonstrate and validate their solution at the NextEnergy Center in Detroit, or an applicable site that meets the needs of the selected solution. An additional combined total of $20,000 will be awarded to as many as four finalists. Monetary awards and programmatic support are funded by a $650,000, three-year grant from Wells Fargo to support NextEnergy's efforts to drive investment in advanced energy and transportation technologies that address needs in urban communities.
"Wells Fargo is proud to support efforts to create solutions for the future of smart cities. Our Clean Technology and Innovation Grant program funds projects that foster innovation, entrepreneurship and an ecosystem that helps early stage technologies bridge to the commercial marketplace," said Ashley Grosh, Vice President, Wells Fargo Environmental Affairs.
Innovators should submit an online concept proposal by 11:59 pm EDT on July 28, 2016. Submissions will be reviewed by a panel of judges including representatives from NextEnergy, Wells Fargo, DENSO and DTE Energy based on the following objectives: innovation, qualifications, competitive advantage, and scalability. The most compelling solutions will be supported by measurable metrics, address data analytics and information sharing, and open application programming interface (API) capabilities. Semi-finalists will be selected and required to submit a full proposal by Oct. 4, 2016. Selected finalists will be expected to present their proposals on Dec. 8, 2016. Awards will be announced in January 2017.
DENSO, one of the largest global automotive suppliers, plans to take its core automotive technologies and apply them to different fields and industries to help create the future smart city. DTE Energy, a Detroit-based diversified energy company, will use the technology challenge to identify opportunities to create smarter and more resilient cities of the future.
A webinar is scheduled for June 9, 2016 from 2 – 3 p.m. EDT to learn more and review the application process. To register, visit nextchallenge.org/webinar.
For more information about the challenge or to apply, visit nextchallenge.org.