Original story by Shaun Gallagher of TODAY'S TMJ4
Foxconn announced a partnership with Wisconsin Universities and Technical Colleges on a statewide initiative to better serve Wisconsin.
The goal is to find solutions to make the area around the Racine County plant better through infrastructure, transportation and other developments. The partnership with Colleges and Universities is an effort to tap the young, creative minds of the state.
"I'm biased," Alan Yeung, Foxconn Director of U.S. Strategic Initiatives and President of FEW Development Corporation said. "If you talk to young people, they tend to think a little more outward bound. They're not hindered by constraints."
Yeung hopes to tap into the minds of the next generation of employees for the Smart City, Smart Future Initiative. He says, Foxconn is committing $1 million over the next three years to be given to the students who come up with innovative solutions to common problems.
He even quoted Dr. Emmett Brown as inspiration for the students who participate."Where we're going," Yeung said. "We don't need roads."
Of course, that's more of an idea in theory. Yeung doesn't believe flying cars will be the ways employees at Foxconn will get there... yet. But he does hope the innovative young minds will have ideas for infrastructure changes making things more efficient and helping bolster the Racine County area.
On Aug. 7, more details will be released during the Smart Futures Summit but Yeung shared some problems he's already thought of that need solutions including, smart energy grids or new traffic flow issues.
The area where the plant will be will soon have thousands of people commuting into it after it's been nothing more than a country road for decades.
"This is a concept that will stir the imagination. If you look at how connected autonomous vehicles and highways are going, the roads and vehicles are working together," Yeung said. "We're looking at drones and looking at those two together. It would not take that long for unmanned vehicles that can carry passengers."
Which in turn, will draw more people to want to live in the area.
"I want to be around one of these areas where I can have it all," Mike Davis, a junior at UW-Parkside said. "Stay and have my kids grow up where my job is."
Other students offered up things they are looking for once they graduate and are in the real world. Supermarkets, nightlife, even a washer-dryer in their apartments. All of these things could be developed, should the innovative Smart Cities venture come to fruition.
And Foxconn believes the answers are in the minds of young Wisconsin college students.
"They are right up there," Yeung said. "The quality, ingenuity and the innovative ideas are world class. I think they can absolutely get there."