An uninhabited town in New Mexico is the new home for scientific testing, officials say. Researchers will be able to try out the latest technology in everything from household items to traffic systems without fear of disrupting residents.
The city–estimated to cost about $1 billion when all is said and done–will be around 15 square miles in size, plotted on land just outside of the city of Hobbs. The project is the first of its kind, developed by the Center for Innovation, Technology, and Testing; directors say the ghost town will be modeled after a real town in South Carolina and will have highways, homes, and commercial buildings. The only thing missing will be people.
Part of the scientific initiative will be testing self-driving cars, which have been in the news recently because Google recently acquired a license to have one of their own autonomous cars drive around Nevada.
While most people are all for the testing site–including Hobbs mayor Sam Cobb–some are worried that there may be dangerous things planned that could affect neighboring counties. Senior managing director of the group responsible, Bob Brumley, didn’t do much to quell those fears recently when he commented on the future of the site.
“The only thing we won’t be doing is destructive testing, blowing things up — I hope,” said Brumley.
Still, those who have lived in the area and know the devastation caused by the ’80s oil bust are excited by the prospect and what it could mean for the surrounding towns.
“It brings so many great opportunities and puts us on a world stage,” Mayor Sam Cobb said, adding that it will be a great diversifier for the economy.