How Artificial Intelligence is Transforming Smart Cities?

According to the data published by the UN, the world population will reach up to a limit of 9.7 billion by the end of 2050. As the number grows, we’ll have to encounter challenges regarding making a provision for resources and energy to all of the inhabitants and at the same time, avoiding environmental deterioration.

A “Smart City” is an urban area that relies on information and communication technologies to build economic growth, improve quality of life and support governance structures. For example, a municipal authority could interconnect its transport and energy grid systems, build sensor-equipped energy-efficient buildings and develop communications that enable better monitoring of healthcare, emergency, and other public services. 

According to the data published by the UN, the world population will reach up to a limit of 9.7 billion by the end of 2050. As the number grows, we’ll have to encounter challenges regarding making a provision for resources and energy to all of the inhabitants and at the same time, avoiding environmental deterioration. In India, which is the world’s fastest-growing major economy and has the second-largest population in the world, AI can be transformational.

A combination of high-speed, reliable, low latency connectivity will allow transformation towards smart cities. AI will be a major enabler for this transformation towards smart cities. The use of AI combined with the Internet of Things (IoT) in smart cities can be life-changing. Cloud-based IoT applications receive, analyze, and manage data in real-time to help municipalities, enterprises, and citizens make better decisions that improve quality of life. There are multiple zones in cities or in urban development where AI can be used to improve the performance and efficiency of the system. It has the potential to address the key challenges posed by excessive urban population; such as traffic management, healthcare issues and growing energy consumption. IoT data and AI technology can improve the lives of the citizens and businesses that inhabit a smart city.

Applications of AI in Smart Cities

A smart city has many use cases for AI-powered IoT-enabled technology, from maintaining a healthier environment to enhancing public transport and safety. Smart Cities and Artificial Intelligence offer a comprehensive view of how cities are evolving as smart ecosystems through the convergence of technologies incorporating machine learning, geospatial intelligence, data analytics and visualization, sensors, and smart connected objects. The recent advances in AI move us closer to developing urban operating systems that simulate human, machine, and environmental patterns from transportation infrastructure to communication networks.

Smart Traffic Management: AI and IoT can implement smart traffic solutions to ensure that inhabitants of a smart city get from one point to another as safely and efficiently as possible. AI-supported traffic sensor systems can use cameras to collect real-time data of vehicles on the road, and send it to a control centre, which collates the data fed from other points and adjusts the signal timings to ensure smooth flow of vehicles.

Smart Parking: Finding a parking slot especially during holiday time is a very tedious task. With road surface sensors embedded in the ground on parking spots or with CCTV cameras, smart parking solutions can determine whether the parking spots are free or occupied and create a real-time parking map. This will reduce the time that drivers had to wait to find a parking space which would also help in reducing congestion and pollution.

Smart Waste Management: The increase in the urban population necessitates the adoption of smart methods for waste management. AI-enabled cameras can detect trash thrown on the street and recognize the types of garbage for categorization. AI-enabled sensors on waste bins can make waste collection more efficient. Authorities can receive notifications when the bins are about to be full, and ensure operational cost reduction by eliminating unnecessary pickups, providing dynamic collection routes, and schedules for optimization of waste management. Adopting AI for smart recycling and waste management can provide a sustainable waste management system.

Smart Policing: Smart cities require smart policing where law enforcement agencies employ evidence-based data-driven strategies that are effective, efficient, and economical. AI-enabled cameras and sensors can keep an eye on the surroundings to enhance the security level in the city’s neighbourhoods. Such cameras can recognize the people and their faces or track unusual activities in restricted areas.

Smart Lighting: Street lights are necessary, but they consume a lot of energy, which can be reduced with the use of smart lighting. Besides this, the lamp posts can also be fitted with additional sensors, or serve as Wi-Fi network hotspots. The lamps can also adjust the brightness based on the presence of pedestrians, cyclists or cars. It employs a real-time mesh network to trigger neighbouring lights and creates a safe circle of light around a human occupant.

Smart Governance: The main motive of smart cities is to make a comfortable and convenient life for their inhabitants. Therefore, smart city infrastructure is not complete without smart governance. Smart governance implies the use of ICT intelligently to improve decision making through better collaboration among different stakeholders, including government and citizens. Smart governance would be able to use data, evidence, and other resources to improve decision making and compliance towards the needs of the citizens.

Smart Power Grid: AI has the potential to enhance the safety of power grids and improve performance management. Smart grids (power networks, such as generation plants, that are embedded with computer technology) can make smart meter readings of large quantities of data to assess and predict demand response and load clustering. Prediction models can be set up on these grids to forecast the price and demand for energy for specific periodic intervals.

The integration of AI in smart cities has multiple benefits for humans as well as the environment. From an eco-friendly environment to sustainable development, AI in smart cities ushers in many advantages for everyone. It is changing the way cities operate, deliver, and maintain public amenities, from lighting and transportation to connectivity and health services. 

Building a smart city is not a one-day business, neither is it the work of one person or organization. It requires the collaboration of many strategic partners, leaders, and even citizens. The process of building a smart city will be an iterative process, with more processing and analysis added at each iteration. Once implemented, the benefits are significant. 

Disclaimer: The views expressed in the article above are those of the authors' and do not necessarily represent or reflect the views of this publishing house