A city in southeast New Mexico will soon become home to a slew of headline-making innovations including driverless cars and next generation wireless networks. But there’s one thing the city won’t have: residents.
Scientists are planning to construct a $1 billion “ghost town” in Lea County, New Mexico that will serve as a real life laboratory for a variety of consumer products. Modeled after a mid-sized modern city, the ghost town will have roads, houses and shops—just no people.
The Center for Testing, Evaluation & Innovation (CITE) project will give federal labs and agencies, universities and research institutions, and commercial industries the chance to test out products on existing infrastructure without interfering with residents’ lives. Officials involved in the project say researchers will be able to test out everything from smart grid and renewable energy technologies to automated washing machines on the 15 acre plot.
"The only thing we won't be doing is destructive testing, blowing things up… I hope,” Bob Brumley, senior managing director of Pegasus Holdings, the group behind CITE told the Associated Press.
City officials from Hobbs, New Mexico, CITE’s nearest neighbor, are hopeful about the project’s potential economic impact on the area. Mayor Sam Cobb has already spoken about CITE’s ability to diversify the economy of Hobbs, an area that has depended heavily on the oil and gas industry.
Construction of the scientific ghost town is set to begin by June 30, 2012.
This post was originally published on Smartplanet.com