ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. A scientific ghost town in the heart of southeastern New Mexico oil and gas country will hum with the latest next-generation technology -- but no people.

A $1 billion city without residents will be developed in Lea County near Hobbs, officials said Tuesday, to help researchers test everything from intelligent traffic systems and next-generation wireless networks to automated washing machines and self-flushing toilets.
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Bob Brumley, senior managing director of Pegasus Holdings, said the town will be modeled after the real city of Rock Hill, S.C., complete with highways, houses and commercial buildings, old and new. No one will live there, although they could as houses will include all the necessities, like appliances and plumbing.

The point of the town is to enable researchers to test new technologies on existing infrastructure without interfering in everyday life. For instance, while some researchers will be testing smart technologies on old grids, others might be using the streets to test self-driving cars.

"The only thing we won't be doing is destructive testing, blowing things up -- I hope," said Brumley.
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Finally - a city that's not crowded and no traffic