How AI Can make Smart Cities Even Smarter!

The world population is moving to cities, fast and for the long term. It is estimated that by 2050 over 60% of the population will be living in the cities. As people increasingly migrate to cities for a better opportunity, there is a need for intelligent smart city solutions to create sustainable, efficient and beneficial environments, which will raise people’s quality of life. City planners have been working to improve these metrics for as long as there have been cities. However, many existing urban infrastructures are outdated or simply can’t keep up with the ever-growing population and their needs. The government needs to use technological advancement to facilitate people’s day-to-day living more comfortable and secure. This has given rise to the concept of smart cities implanted with technologically advanced smart city solutions. 

So what are Smart cities, exactly?

There’s no universally accepted definition for a smart city. Its conceptualization various from city to city and country to country. But their goals remain the same –

  •      Creating an infrastructure that reduces congestion, pollution, and other city woes. 
  •      Providing citizen-friendly governance with an array of online services.
  •      Meeting energy, computing and other resource requirements of the city.

Smart Cities relies on technological advanced smart city solutions to enhance its existing infrastructure to better support and optimize urban services, to reduce resource consumption and contain costs. And implementing AI technologies can make smart cities even smarter. It can significantly improve the lives of the citizens and businesses that inhabit a smart city.

But how AI driven smart city solutions makes smart cities even smarter?

The advantage of implementing AI driven smart city solutions in smart cities is that it has the ability to learn about citizen-city interaction. Algorithms used in AI are improving every day. AI can learn about the population’s behavior and also how people use their cities. It can uncover information that was unknown before and empowers city council to preempt its population’s needs and serve them better. Lets see how.

Cities generate lots of data, such as ticket sales on mass transit, local tax information, police reports, sensors on roads and local weather stations. These data need to be collected and analyzed to create useful insights that can improve a city. However, this is far more raw data than could ever be viewed, processed, or analyzed by humans. This is where AI comes in. AI can process large volumes of data from various sources to derive valuable insights that help to improve the city’s operational efficiency and cut down costs in the process.

In any given city, a large amount of existing public infrastructure is underutilized, overused, or used inefficiently due to lack of real-time information among citizens and local government. AI driven smart city solutions can collect data from various sources and helps to utilize city infrastructure efficiently.

By combining Artificial intelligence and sensor-driven analytics, smart cities can resolve myriad challenges, from crime to congestion. 

     ⊕ AI can improve the citizen-centric program.

     ⊕ It can take contribution from the citizens.

     ⊕ AI can work towards enhancing existing resources efficiently.

Smart Traffic Management

Driving through city traffic is not something people look forward to doing. Traffic congestion is a major urban transportation problem most cities face. Lack of proper road infrastructure combined with an increasing number of vehicles leads to traffic congestion. Widening of roads is not a viable solution for obvious reasons. It can never solve the traffic problem.

Traffic signaling and sensor system powered by Artificial Intelligence can eliminate the problem of traffic congestion. The AI-driven traffic cameras can gather real-time data of vehicle densities and then transmit this data to the traffic control center, which then adjusts the signal timings to ensure a smooth flow. Better traffic flow not only makes driving less stressful but it has an economic impact. Relieving congestion means saving costly fuel and cities can cut down on manpower required to maintain smooth traffic flow.

Smart Governance

From renewing a driver’s license to receiving health and human services support, citizens have to undergo many age-old administrative processes. This experience can often be underwhelming and frustrating. One of the primary goals of the smart city project is to provide citizen-friendly governance quickly with less paperwork and administrative steps. AI can help a lot to achieve this goal while improving citizen engagement and service delivery.

The government can use AI to reduce administrative burdens, help resolve resource allocation problems, and take on significantly complex tasks. For example, AI can be used to answer citizen’s various questions, handle routine requests, fill out and search documents and draft documents for the citizens. This way the government can function more efficiently while freeing up time for employees to build better relationships with citizens. More importantly, AI helps to ensure citizen’s participation in democracy.

Vienna in Austria recently introduced an AI-powered chatbot. Available via Facebook Messenger, The chatbot provides answers to an array of user questions and continuously learns from the interactions — even pre-empting questions as it captures the most frequently used terms. It is a perfect example of how AI helps in smart governance.

Smart Waste Management

Waste management is a significant environmental issue faced by cities. The lack of good waste management leads to serious health issues as it can pollute water bodies and spread diseases. Fortunately, AI can be used to manage waste properly. When AI is implemented along with IoT it becomes easier for waste management authorities to create a sustainable waste management system. Additionally, AI can help optimize waste management by offering authorities with functional and route optimization analytics.

Improving Public Safety

Tackling crime and improving public safety is a challenge for any city. AI is a powerful new ally when it comes to preventing and detecting crime. By enabling real-time monitoring, analytics, and decision-making, AI can make use of the same networks of sensors and cameras used for traffic monitoring to save the lives of the citizens and prevent crime. For example, police can use AI to check the license plate of vehicles to find stolen cars, identify expired registrations and run checks against criminal databases. Law enforcement agencies can also use predictive policing in various other areas, including monitoring and managing sex offenders, and combating gang violence.

The city of New York is one among 90 cities to use an AI-driven system, which uses a network of microphones embedded in street lights to instantly recognize and locate gunshots. Last year the AI-driven system alerted law enforcement to 74,916 gunfire incidents.

Water and power management

Managing resources such as water and electricity is crucial for any city. Due to the lack of a proper management system, a significant portion of water and electricity is getting wasted. AI driven smart city solutions can streamline power and water usage and make it more efficient. Many smart cities are coming up with AI-powered smart grids and control center to better manage these resources. The central management center powered by AI can control all units and ensure they operate at the highest efficiency.

One field where AI can demonstrably make an impact is the urban infrastructure. It helps city planners to look at old problems in a new light. AI technologies implemented with smart city solutions are becoming an integral part of many smart city initiatives. It has the tremendous capability when it comes to improving the living conditions of the citizens, and making the city more environmentally sustainable. AI can learn how people use cities and can provide business values and create positive social impact by solving many of the challenges a city faces. AI can fulfill the promise of the smart city by transforming almost every aspect of the city.