• Kyodo

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As technology to create energy-efficient “smart cities” proliferates, four Japanese companies have shown off their prowess in advanced environmental and information technologies as part of a related exhibition in New York.

Daikin Industries Ltd., Hitachi Ltd., Panasonic Corp. and Shimizu Corp. participated last week in Smart Cities New York 2018, an exhibition aimed at alleviating problems such as inefficiency and congestion that are expected to arise in cities.

By 2050, around two-thirds of the world’s population is expected to be living in cities.

Hitachi presented a solution called Smart Spaces, which helps organizations use data-driven tools to improve people’s lives and create safer, more efficient cities.

It also introduced a method to modernize subway signal systems with trains that would only require video cameras and a display with sensors. This would eliminate the need to install heavy-duty signaling systems, a current source of delays.

Although the Metropolitan Transportation Authority in New York says it would take 40 years to implement this type of a system, Hitachi has said its proposal would slash the time to 15 to 20 years.

Panasonic meanwhile showed off its image-recognition technology as a way to reduce traffic accidents.

Daikin presented a way to maintain air temperature and cleanliness inside buildings using virtual reality, while major contractor Shimizu exhibited a mechanism it says can reduce the cost of electricity by interconnecting power within an area.

Angel Olvera, a 24-year-old entrepreneur, said Hitachi’s Smart Spaces was one of the more exciting products he saw at the two-day exhibition, which ended Thursday.

“I think it has a lot of application for events and crowd management, being able to detect when there is potentially too many people in a space or when a wrong person is in a space,” he said.

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