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Marines to work with San Diego on smart city applications

The two sides have signed a MoU to work together on smart technologies such as unmanned aircraft systems, renewable energy and smart streetlights

San Diego and the Marines wil meet regularly to discuss smart city issues
San Diego and the Marines wil meet regularly to discuss smart city issues

The city of San Diego has entered a cooperative agreement with the US military to work together on smart city initiatives.


Under the terms of the signed memorandum of understanding (MoU), the city and Marine Corps will share expertise on unmanned aircraft systems (UAS), smart streetlights and renewable energy.


Smart city issues


The latest agreement continues a strong tradition of partnership between the city and the branch of the armed forces.


The MoU calls for San Diego and Marine Corps Installations Command (MCICOM) to meet regularly to discuss smart city issues impacting both parties, exchange technical ideas, review the status of ongoing projects and identify new areas of collaboration.


“We’re building on the long tradition of collaboration between the US military and the City of San Diego and taking that partnership to the next level for the betterment of the San Diego region,” said Kevin Faulconer, city mayor.


“We will share our experiences, share our discoveries, and share how advanced technology can benefit the people we serve.”


The partnership will begin by utilising working groups to review issues and develop action plans related to the following areas: protection/security, mobility and public works.


“San Diego and the Marine Corps have a long history working together and this agreement is a testament to our partnership,” added major general Vincent Coglianese.


“Marine Corps Air Station Miramar and the city of San Diego have significant ties with infrastructure and utilities, and both see opportunities to partner in developing innovative solutions on resilience, improved services, and transportation.”

“We will share our experiences, share our discoveries, and share how advanced technology can benefit the people we serve”

Last year, San Diego was selected to participate in a pilot programme by the US Department of Transportation to advance the testing of UAS, grow the innovation economy and create jobs.


As part of the MoU, the city will request the inclusion of the Marine Corps as one of the 20-plus partners in the San Diego region’s consortium for the pilot programme.


Named one of the World’s Smart Cities by National Geographic in 2015, San Diego has implemented several advanced technologies to improve city operations, customer service and public safety.


Examples include:

  • Smart Streetlights: in 2017, the city installed 3,200 smart streetlights that was the largest city-based deployment of an IoT platform in the world. The smart sensors in the streetlights reduce energy costs by 60 per cent and transform them into a connected digital network that can optimise parking and traffic, enhance public safety and track air quality.
  • Get It Done application: in 2016, the city introduced a smartphone and web application that allows San Diegans to report problems and request improvements for their neighbourhoods. The app uses GPS information embedded within photos to automatically update the address and location of problems.
  • San Diego UAS IPP: in 2018, San Diego – alongside a team of corporate, academic, and nonprofit partners – was designated one of 10 locations across the country to participate in the Federal Aviation Administration’s unmanned aircraft systems integrated pilot programme (IPP). The programme will test a variety of advanced drone missions over the next several years.

MCICOM has established a representative in San Diego focused on innovation on West Coast installations – including two San Diego-based installations at Marine Corps Air Station Miramar and Marine Corps Recruit Depot San Diego.


The Installation neXt concept brings together the power of ideas and community partners to imagine and reimagine the application of emerging state-of-the-art technology, processes and organisational adaptions to the future of Marine Corps bases.


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