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Billion-dollar high-tech ghost town to run itself without humans

Uninhabited 'smart city' will be boffins' playground

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A site in New Mexico, near the city of Hobbs in Lea County, has been chosen as the place to build a shiny new city with all the latest mod cons, smart tech and cool gear, but there's not going to be anyone there to enjoy them, the Associated Press reported.

US firm Pegasus Global Holdings is constructing the billion-dollar ghost town as a research facility to allow boffins to test all manner of gizmos and gadgets, including self-flushing loos, intelligent traffic systems, smart grids and first responder tech for homeland security.

The Centre for Innovation, Testing and Evaluation (CITE) will cover 15 square miles (39km2) and the initial investment is pegged at $400m (£249m), though this is expected to rise to $1bn (£622m), according to Pegasus' senior MD, Robert Brumley.

CITE is based on an ordinary mid-sized American city and will include urban, suburban and rural areas with all the necessary roads, buildings, water, telecommunications and operating systems required.

Pegasus expects the project to create 350 new direct jobs and around 3,500 indirect jobs in the region, whose economy suffered a setback during the oil bust in the 1980s.

Researchers will use the city to do large-scale tests of new tech without annoying anyone, like next generation wireless networks without pushing everyone off the internet and self-driving cars without any accidents.

Brumley said the company is hoping to break ground on the project through its subsidiary CITE Development by 30 June. ®

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