Jennifer Sanders, the Executive Director of the North Texas Innovation Alliance, and a second time-guest on the citiesabc YouTube Podcast, discusses the use of robotics and drone technology in smart city initiatives with host Hilton Supra, Vice Chairman of Ztudium Group, highlighting the role of Dallas County Drone Innovation Day in encouraging innovation in the field. The podcast is powered by Dinis Guarda YouTube channel and

The North Texas Innovation Alliance (NTXIA) and Dallas County, Texas, organised UAS/Robotics Innovation Demo Day in Dallas to introduce UAS/Robotics use cases to Dallas County departments and to assess their ROI potential and their scalability for wider County and Local Government implementation. 

With a foreword from her previous interview with Dinis Guarda, Jennifer Sanders shared her wealth of knowledge and experience in the areas of robotics and drone technology.

"The Innovation Demo Day stemmed out of Dallas County Blueprint, which is a strategic plan and framework for incorporating smart city efforts into their operations and identifying highest RoI and cost effective investments for the county", she told Hilton.

UAS/Robotics Innovation Demo Day: Importance and implications

The UAS/Robotics Innovation Demo Day held in Dallas County is a state-led initiative  to showcase the potential and progress of drones and robotics in reshaping the modern landscape. In an era where these technological marvels have become increasingly prevalent, the event serves as a powerful reminder of their transformative capabilities and the tangible impact they can have on our lives. 

"Some of the smart city technologies are not visible to the naked eye. It's a little bit harder to get the sense of what they can do. Particularly with something like the Demo Day, we have the opportunity to do deeper conversations and demonstrations of real life applications", highlighted Jennifer.

The event also marked the official launch of Dallas County's UAS and Robotics Technology Program. Collaborating with the North Texas Innovation Alliance (NTXIA), the initiative is a strategic step toward realising the vision of a 'Smart County.' This vision involves seamlessly integrating advanced technology into everyday operations and public safety measures. The overarching aim is to position Dallas County as a national leader in leveraging technology to enhance efficiency, elevate safety measures, and enrich the quality of public services for its residents.

Emergent Tech for smart city development

Smart cities are not just a futuristic vision; they are a tangible reality being shaped by advancements in various fields, including AI, IoT, Machine Learning, robotics and drone technology. These technologies offer solutions to some of the most pressing challenges that urban areas face today, ranging from traffic congestion and environmental concerns to infrastructure management and public safety.

An expert in smart city initiatives, and having rich experience in each of these technologies, Jennifer shares:

The marriage of robotics and drone technology holds immense potential in the journey toward building smarter, more sustainable cities. By automating tasks, enhancing efficiency, and offering data-driven insights, these technologies can optimize urban planning, construction, maintenance, transportation, and more. From monitoring the operations across the remotest areas of the county, to everyday tasks including door-to-door delivery, technology is becoming an integral part of the living.

The use of drones really helps a department to be able to carry out safe and effective operations smoothly. We see the same trends with robotics. For example, a robot led food delivery not only adds convenience, it also aids in reducing emissions. So, these technologies have safety implications as well as support budget, and are sustainable in the long run”, Jennifer told Hilton.

However, the integration of robotics and drone technology into smart cities also raises important considerations. Privacy and security concerns, regulatory frameworks, and public acceptance are crucial factors that must be addressed to ensure the responsible and ethical deployment of these technologies. 

Collaboration among governments, industry players, academia, and citizens is essential to develop guidelines that safeguard privacy while reaping the benefits of these innovations.