Purdue Research Foundation announces first West Lafayette Smart City Challenge

Innovation Partners Institute (IPI) at the Purdue Research Foundation together with the City of West Lafayette, the Indiana 5G Zone and US Ignite announced the West Lafayette (WL) Smart City Challenge. This competition expects to tap into innovative solutions that improve public safety at Discovery Park.

“Through this challenge, the streets of West Lafayette can become a safer place for vulnerable road users — like pedestrians, bicyclists, scooter riders, skaters, and motorcyclists that share the roadway with autonomous and larger vehicles,” said Erin Easter, director of development at the City of West Lafayette. “Improving the safety for WL residents and visitors is a top priority, and we are enthusiastic about the outcomes of this competition.”

Smart city graphic

The roads of Discovery Park become high-trafficked areas during certain events, such as football games, concerts and festivals. Moreover, West Lafayette’s population nearly doubles when students return to campus every fall. The WL Smart City challenge asks participants to develop a scalable IoT (Internet-of-Things) solution and/or software application to improve safety for vulnerable road users who navigate high-traffic corridors and intersections during major seasonal events.

"The town-gown partnership between Purdue and West Lafayette is writing yet another new chapter in the Innovation Campus,” said Mung Chiang, the John A. Edwardson Dean of the College of Engineering and Purdue’s executive vice president for strategic initiatives. “We cherish the opportunity to create jobs and knowledge together, and now we can do lab-to-life translation of the latest invention in communications, transportation, public safety and benefit our neighborhood.”

The WL Smart City Challenge will have three phases. The first phase asks participants to submit a proposal via an online application by Dec. 3, 2021. Up to three teams will be awarded $5,000 each to develop a prototype in the second phase. The three finalist teams will obtain access to historical datasets as well as real time data from current infrastructure and opportunities to deploy new sensors.  The finalist teams will also have opportunities to engage with the Challenge’s Technology Advisory Board made up of experts from leading technology companies in the IoT, 5G and data analytics space. The Technology Advisory Board will serve as coaches and mentors to the teams and as proposal and project evaluators.

For the third phase, one of the finalists will pilot their solution for the City of West Lafayette, as well as gain access to potential investors and a one-year membership to NT Convergence.

The WL Smart City Challenge welcomes proposals from any U.S. university-based faculty and/or student (graduate or undergraduate) teams; or U.S. owned and operated startups or businesses with less than 25 employees. More information and details about the evaluation process for proposals can be found at the WL Smart City Challenge website