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

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 …


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  1. oddie
    Thumb Up

    dum dum dum

    I wonder if anyone would notice if I sneaked in one night and started living in one of the houses... would there be real internet (connected to the actual internet)? transport? where would I get food? would they notice a couple of fields of vegetables? would probably go well until they started testing radiation fallout in urban areas...

    I would probably never do it, but am slightly excited at the idea of trying... anyone with me?

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: dum dum dum


      I have visions of the homeless descending upon this city, like Borrowers on the model railroad town.

      (and before certain types blow a gasket - obviously it would be the homeless, because the not-homeless already have homes)

      1. This post has been deleted by its author

    2. Ru

      Re: dum dum dum

      What makes you think that there won't be trials of autonomous security systems?

      "Here we demonstrate the 'three bears' automatic intruder control system. As you can see, without resort to human control, it can terminate an interloper without spilling any blood, and move the body several miles out of town and bury it leaving minimally distrubed soil. Next up, the 'white wash' forensic-grade cleaning robot..."

      1. oddie

        Re: dum dum dum

        "What makes you think that there won't be trials of autonomous security systems?"

        If you think making my whole plan sound like an episode of doctor who (specifically the one where amelia pond get trapped inside that timestream/purpose built fully automated city thing with automated security system (this is a kindness?)) is going to deter me then you are very very wrong my friend :D

        Can we please have a doctor who icon before the next series start?

      2. Daniel Garcia 2

        Re: dum dum dum

        Please put down your weapon, You have 20 seconds to comply.....

    3. Stevie Silver badge

      Re: dum dum dum

      I suspect, the locale being what it is, you'll have to fight for space with the Meth cookers who infest any space guaranteed to be empty for a bit.

  2. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    That'll take a lot of self-driving cars...

    ... to properly simulate traffic jams and such.

  3. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    You-know-who won't be happy.

    Those scumbags at Google, that's who. They won't be happy when they find out that there will be a city with no one for them to spy on. Unless, of course, they use it to test the wifi data-theft abilities of their Street View spy cars, before turning them loose on the world.

  4. Anonymous Coward

    How long before they start offering vacations?

    I can't be the only one thinking this.

    1. heyrick Silver badge

      Re: How long before they start offering vacations?

      WestWorld - yes! Exactly what came to my mind. Well, that and the "isn't there an economic meltdown in progress?" question...

      1. Frank Bitterlich

        Re: How long before they start offering vacations?

        Westworld? No, rather Eureka! A town full of boffins testing the newest gadgets... Where can I apply?

  5. Anonymous C0ward

    Get out of here Stalker!

  6. Anonymous Coward


    That's what comes to mind.

  7. peyton?

    "self-driving cars without any accidents"

    Well, without any injuries anyway ;)

  8. Christoph Silver badge

    They have to have trains

    Obviously they will have to include a hi-tech train system serving the whole city.

    There is no way that the kind of people who like building stuff like this will miss the chance of having a full-scale working train set to play with.

  9. Bernard

    Is this really a research project...

    or did the corporate mainframe stage a coup, quietly tie up the board and then forge a signature to authorise the project?

    Life is a lot easier without any of those irritating and irrational 'people' around.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Is this really a research project...

      Does it come with a Game Grid?

    2. Blofeld's Cat

      Re: Is this really a research project...

      "did the corporate mainframe stage a coup"

      You mean they forgot it could lip-read?

  10. Naughtyhorse

    no people.....

    so why the self flushing boggs?

    yup thats all i got from the article :-)

  11. Blofeld's Cat

    Reality Check...

    Will there be a special team of people going round digging holes at random, distributing cones and closing streets?

    Will there be simulated (or real) drunks stepping out in front of cars and falling asleep in strange places?

    Will there be an "awkward squad" who drive the wrong way on streets, park their vehicles up the kerb, hold protests, spray graffiti on walls and steal equipment or cables?

    If the answer to any of the above is yes then where do I sign up?

    It's the dayglo one with the wire-cutters and whisky bottle in one pocket.

  12. sjsmoto

    There Will Come Soft Rains

    Spooky, like the Ray Bradbury story without the nukes.

  13. Dave 126 Silver badge


    ....might find a use for it.

  14. Will Godfrey Silver badge

    Personally, I'm rather uncomfortable with the idea that in a time of recession with people really feeling the squeeze from all directions and where small businesses are falling over like dominoes, someone thinks it's a good idea to build the ultimate sim-city game... without the sims.

    1. Dan 10

      I disagree

      Someone thinks it's a good idea to build the ultimate testing environment - this is a good thing for other companies wishing to innovate. This has the potential to be an enabler for economic growth.

    2. GavinC

      why not? It's extra work for builders, plumbers, electricians etc. Trickle down economics at its best!

  15. wayne 8 Bronze badge

    Spain, with all of its excess GDP,

    is building a smart city with some loose Euros they have floating around.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Spain, with all of its excess GDP,

      Spain? The word never came up in the article.

      NEW Mexico... not even slightly close.

      You do know the earth is round and there are other countries beyond US waters?

  16. Graham Marsden

    Nothing can go wrong...

    ... go wrong... go wrong...

  17. Tankboy

    Couldn't have picked a better place.

    If they were looking for remote, they got it right. Not to mention it has not 1 but 2 airports (?), and by all reports from my friends that live in "The Land of Enchantment", they could use the jobs.

  18. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward


    The rest of the modern world has worked out how to use things called "computers" to simulate this sort of scenario, possibly faster than realtime, without having to spend the time and money doing it in real life.

  19. Peter Fox
    Thumb Down

    Lets build a city for...

    Let's build an aquarium without fishes.

    The ONLY reason you'd trial a system (punted with lots of positive benefits naturally) in such a place would be if you were worried about harmful side-effects.

    (Or if 'research' was offset against tax so was effectively free. But it's still creepy.)

  20. Paul Hovnanian Silver badge

    SkyNet ...

    ... anyone?

  21. Antoine Dubuc

    Let's explain that one to the homeless mother and her kids

    In my primeval, primitive, caveman gut, I know this is wrong. That there are far more important things to care of NOW instead of testing stuff for the future. Maybe its just me...

    1. localzuk

      Re: Let's explain that one to the homeless mother and her kids

      You're on a tech news site and you complain about a company developing a testbed for new tech?

      Does not compute.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: Let's explain that one to the homeless mother and her kids

        ah, the typical BSOH.

        Just because it's got a checkbox doesn't mean you HAVE to click it.

    2. Neil 51

      Re: Let's explain that one to the homeless mother and her kids

      So does your primeval, primitive, caveman gut tell you to sell your non-essential PCs, game consoles & wide-screen TVs, move to a smaller, cheaper house, eat only Tesco value food and stop drinking/dating/socialising so you can give all that extra money you save directly to the important "homeless mother and her kids" yourself?

      No? Then shush.

  22. Sceptic Tank

    Panel beater's nightmare: a city without accidents! Expect an increase in the number of body shops for sale in the near future.

    OTOH: "self-driving cars without any accidents". I'm thinking there will be more "accidents" on back seat if cars drive themselves. What else would there be to do on a long journey? Sing songs?

  23. TeeCee Gold badge

    "..350 new direct jobs and around 3,500 indirect jobs....."

    I can see a slight snag. Hiring staff in an uninhabited city will be an interesting trick, if they manage to pull it off......

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