Street light upgrade, high-tech housing, part of Rome’s plan to lure Amazon or Walmart for drone delivery

Local News

ROME, N.Y. (WSYR-TV) — People who live in the City of Rome could be among the first in the nation to be able to have packages delivered by drone.

Drone delivery is just one of the advantages to Rome being converted to a “smart city,” as Oneida County Executive Anthony Picente announced Tuesday at his State of the County Address.

Conversion to a smart city begins with Mayor Jacqueline Izzo’s plan for the city to buy its street light heads, which are currently owned by National Grid.

Similar to what the City of Syracuse did in 2019, Rome will upgrade them to LED.

The mayor says the purchase will cost between $3 million and $4 million, but the annual energy costs will be cut in half and quickly pay for themselves.

In addition to cost savings and modern lighting technology, each device will be affixed with an internet device, which allows city government to monitor any blown bulbs and control the brightness of each light. The smart nodes also can detect weather conditions, help signal to traffic, and improve parking flow.

The internet devices can also support drone flight overhead.

Mayor Izzo says new housing projects can become neighborhoods used to test drone deliveries because of how close they are to the already-existing drone research at the Griffiss Technology and Business Park.

Specifically, Air City Lofts is already renting its finished units. When construction is done, four buildings will have almost 100 units each.

Mayor Izzo plans to coordinate the construction of a new housing unit off Floyd Avenue, on the site of the now-demolished Woodhaven Park, a neighborhood left behind when the base closed down.

The homes will be installed with the latest and greatest internet technology and the developer is considering installing sensors into the driveways to help drones find where to land.

Izzo hopes the strategy encourages companies like Amazon and Walmart to test drove delivery in Rome.

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