What is AI-empowered City Brain?

Before we jump into any fancy artificial intelligence applications like City Brain, let's take a closer look at Smart City first, which is increasingly becoming a buzzword too. 

What is Smart City?

A smart city is an urban area that uses different types of electronic Internet of things (IoT) sensors to collect data and then use these data to manage assets and resources efficiently. This includes data collected from citizens, devices, and assets that is processed and analyzed to monitor and manage traffic and transportation systems, power plants, water supply networks, waste management, crime detection, information systems, schools, libraries, hospitals, and other community services.  - From Wikipedia.

In the approach to the Smart Cities Mission, the objective is to promote cities that provide core infrastructure and give a decent quality of life to its citizens, a clean and sustainable environment and application of 'Smart' Solutions. 

Some major fields of intelligent city activation are:

Innovation economy Urban infrastructure Governance Innovation in industries, clusters, districts of a city Transport Administration services to the citizen Knowledge workforce: Education and employment Energy / Utilities Participatory and direct democracy Creation of knowledge-intensive companies Protection of the environment / Safety Services to the citizen: Quality of life What is City Brain?

Alibaba Cloud's City Brain solution has been piloted at the company's headquarters in Hangzhou, capital of Zhejiang province, since 2017, using artificial intelligence (AI) technology in urban management. And it soon expanded to Kuala Lumpur, the capital of Malaysia.

The system has been used to optimize the management of 1,300 traffic lights at intersections and to connect 4,500 traffic monitoring video cameras, thus providing green lights for emergency vehicles like ambulances, making their arrival time 48.9 percent faster than before.

Alibaba says the City Brain has leveraged AI and cloud computing technology to speed up traffic efficiency, shortened commutes and also helped first responders by enabling fire trucks and ambulances to halve the amount of time it takes to get to the scene of emergencies.

By 2025, cities using such systems could cut commutes by an average of 15% to 20%, the institute predicted. But the technology has also raised privacy concerns, particularly in China, where surveillance is rising and facial recognition cameras are spreading into areas like public restrooms.

What are other Smart Cities in the world?

Arup estimates that the global market for smart urban services will be $400 billion per annum by 2020. Examples of Smart City technologies and programs have been implemented in Singapore, Dubai, Milton Keynes, Southampton, Amsterdam, Barcelona, Madrid, Stockholm, China and New York.

Experts say this is just the start.   "Even the most cutting-edge smart cities on the planet are still at the beginning of their journey," the McKinsey Global Institute said in a report last year. "Since technology never stands still, the bar will only get higher."  

1. Singapore

Singapore has high marks for its smart mobility policies and technology as well as its wireless connectivity. In 2014, the city-state announced that it was developing software it calls “Virtual Singapore,” a dynamic 3-D model that enables city planners to run virtual tests—verifying, for instance, how crowds might evacuate from a neighborhood facing an emergency.

2. Barcelona

The chic capital of Catalonia region in northeastern Spain, Barcelona has made extensive use of sensors to help monitor and manage traffic. It not only reduced traffic by 21%. It has also installed smart parking technology as well as smart streetlights, and sensors for monitoring air quality and noise.

More importantly, as Barcelona is a city could face drought which ran out of water in previous years. As a result, it has developed a smart city sensors system for irrigation. Sensors in the ground analyze rain alongside the predicted level of rain forecasted to occur and will modify the city’s sprinklers accordingly to help conserve water.

3. London

London has began to take early action in using technology to help tackle congestion and make parking simpler. London has also committed to making available data from its smart city initiative public via its London Datastore, based on which some apps are built to tell people which route to take. In 2014, London began rolling out a smart parking initiative in the Westminster neighborhood. 

4. San Francisco

San Francisco’s Connected City initiative enables residents to locate parking spots. The city is also forward thinking in its sustainability and smart urban development initiatives. It also has one of the highest densities of LEED-certified buildings in the United States.

The city, however, has been a leader in terms of smart parking. The SF Park initiative, which was launched in 2011, leverages sensors to monitor parking spaces. 

“The idea is that not only can you assess the level of occupancy for parking, which helps the cities manage new parking initiatives,” Sorrell says. 

San Francisco city officials use the data for dynamic parking system that adjusts the cost of parking based on whether spots are occupied or are vacant. “They might say that there is low occupancy in one area and then try to lower the price of it,” Sorrell explains.




Source: alibaba; iotworldtoday; Wikipedia