Mayor of London Sadiq Khan wants to make the capital a world leading smart city

Lynsey Barber
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Winter Lights Exhibition At Canary Wharf
Startups will help make London smarter (Source: Getty)

London mayor Sadiq Khan has revealed ambitious plans to make the capital a world leading "smart city" and tackle climate change with the help of tech startups.

A new £1.6m incubator, Better Futures, will help 100 small businesses in the capital with funding and other support to create low-carbon and climate friendly technology.

The venture is the first step in the mayor's vision to make London a so-called smart city.

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"My ambition now is to harness the new technologies that are being pioneered right here to transform London into the world’s leading smart city," said Khan at the opening of London Tech Week.

“The potential for cutting-edge technology to tackle a host of social, economic and environmental challenges is immeasurable. From air pollution and climate change to housing and transport, new technologies and data science will be at the heart of the long-term solutions to urban challenges.”

And Ford has said it will locate a new European smart cities research centre in the capital, based at Here East, the new tech hub in Stratford's Olympic park.

“Basing our rapidly growing team here in the heart of mobility innovation in London is critical to accelerating our learning and development of new technologies," said Ford's vice president and president of Europe, Middle East and Africa.

"The location at Here East will allow us greater collaboration and the out-of-the-box thinking needed to tackle the urban transport challenges of tomorrow. We will also be ideally placed to build on existing partner projects and have access to London’s world-class digital talent. Both will be key as we build towards our ambition of being a global leader in mobility solutions.”

It will open the innovation centre later this year and will initially house 40 people. The park's private roads could be used in future by the car company for testing vehicles. It is already testing plug-in hybrid transit vans in the capital.

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Separately, a new accelerator has been launched for startups using technology to help people with disabilities, including areas such as accessible and affordable housing, transportation and how big data and analytics can be used to improve lives.

The programme will be run with University College London and Plexal, the new startup space at Here East. The Global Disability Hub will be chaired by former paralympian Lord Chris Holmes.

"I have personally benefited from assistive technology and believe truly inclusive design not only removes barriers to disabled people but also, essentially, benefits everyone by leading to ground breaking technological solutions or applications and truly excellent design," he said.

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