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Microsoft Co-Founder Paul Allen Is Giving Millions to Turn Columbus, Ohio, Into the City of the Future

Microsoft Co-Founder Paul Allen Is Giving Millions to Turn Columbus, Ohio, Into the City of the Future
Image credit: Matt Kazmierski | Getty Images

Self-driving electric shuttles and high-speed WiFi stations may soon grace the the streets of Columbus, Ohio as part of a futuristic makeover planned for the city.

Columbus was named the winner of the US Department of Transportation's Smart City Challenge Thursday, and will get $50 million in funding to carry out a plan to weave technology throughout the city.

The capital of Ohio beat out six other finalists: Austin, Denver, Kansas City, Pittsburgh, Portland and San Francisco.

Columbus' winning proposal involves three self-driving shuttles linking a new bus station to a commercial shopping district. Additionally, the money will fund the exploration of other technologies and options to provide better transportation to city areas with critical health needs.

Columbus has already raised $90 million from private partnerships with tech companies like Amazon Web Services, AT&T and Sidewalk Labs, a company under Google's parent company Alphabet, among others. Columbus will also get $10 million from Microsoft co-founder Paul Allen's Vulcan.

Columbus may also take up Sidewalk Labs' offer to install 100 Links, or Wi-Fi kiosks, in the winning city.

For its part, Amazon Web Services will supply Columbus with its cloud technology.


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