Applications & Challenges in leveraging AI in Smart Cities.
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Applications & Challenges in leveraging AI in Smart Cities.

We live in a technologically ever-expanding world and it is up to us to utilize this latest tech to make our lives more efficient. The growth of Artificial Intelligence (AI) and Machine Learning (ML) in the past decade has opened a whole new array of lifestyle enhancements in ways we could just imagine in the past.

As we know, the majority of the population in the world, about 70 percent, live in metro cities. These cities need to host the most techniques of administration to cope up with the constantly increasing density of the population. AI promises a new era of life where we can optimize our time and spending and live a safer and more efficient life – Smart Cities!

Smart cities are a concept where technology plays a vital role in increasing the efficiency of life by reducing energy consumption, curbing criminal incidents, better traffic management, improved waste management, upgraded public services, etc. AI has offered solutions to all these problems and many more. With the help of AI and ML models, we can fight a lot of issues that did not seem to have a solution in the past.

Applications of AI in smart cities

AI in Surveillance and Security

Surveillance and Security are two major concerns which we face today. We have police forces patrolling around the city to stop criminal activities. Yet, we have an ever-increasing number of criminal cases like theft and robbery. An AI-powered surveillance system has abilities like face recognition, license plate recognition, suspicious behavior alert, traffic misconduct alert, and more. We have an estimate of about a billion surveillance cameras set up around the world. If surveillance cameras are connected to an AI network, they could not just record criminal activity, but predict it in advance and alert the authorities, preventing the criminal activity from ever taking place. A rightly used AI-powered surveillance network can give the citizens a feeling of security.

Aerial Monitoring

Aerial monitoring is another application of AI in Surveillance and Security. We have seen tremendous growth in this sector in recent years. Drones equipped with surveillance cameras connected to an AI network, help the authorities to keep an eye on places like intersections with a high pedestrian count, events and concerts, and even police missions, from the sky. These drones detect any suspicious activity and alert the first responders with the exact location of the incident. This could give authorities the perspective from the top and help them reduce their response time.

The Indian government has started mapping land in villages using drones. The results are extremely precise, moving a notch over satellite imagery. This project has been designed for mapping boundaries, roads, and canals and eventually creating a detailed map of the area.

AI in Traffic Management and Vehicle Parking

Traffic jams and parking unavailability are two nightmares in traffic management. AI has introduced smart traffic signals which re-adjust their timings according to the flow of traffic. This has shown amazing results like a decrease in the number of traffic jams, as well as reduced travel time and reduced fuel consumption. The ML model, through surveillance cameras, detects vehicles that infringe any traffic laws like over-speeding. This increases road safety. ML models use surveillance cameras and AI sensors in parking areas to detect if a parking spot is available or not. Users get notified on their app about the available parking spots near them. They can also pay the parking fee through the app.

Face detection AI

ML models have perfected face detection algorithms and with strong training data, these models are capable of a lot more than we think. AI face detection helps raise an alarm when an unauthorized person is trying to gain access to a device or a property. Surveillance cameras note the face of the person and search for them through a synchronized network of multi-camera systems. This helps authorities in tracking down criminals and even in finding missing people. These AI systems also play an important role in workplaces with entry restricted to authorized personnel.

AI in Waste collection and waste disposal management

Garbage management is one of the major challenges for smart cities. The high population density in cities leads to an increased usage of resources and generates high quantities of garbage. The city needs to implement efficient waste-collection and waste-disposal systems. The introduction of AI has tremendously helped to optimize the use of waste management resources. AI sensors in public garbage cans notify the collection authorities about how much the can is filled. This network of cans forms a unique route every time for garbage collectors, optimizing fuel consumption. Once the waste is collected and taken to the disposal facility, AI-enabled machines help in sorting the garbage based on the classifications taught to it, such as perishable and non-perishable items. Recyclable items from non-recyclable garbage, etc. This has helped in upgrading the overall waste management facilities in smart cities.

AI in City administration and planning management

AI plays an integral role when it comes to governance and city planning. An AI network gives the administration a complete picture of the population density and traffic flows in different areas of the city. This information can help the government to optimize resources in different areas according to their requirement. Graphs showing the consumption of resources also help in planning the expansion of cities and the eventual expansion of roads and infrastructure. With features like camera surveillance, traffic management, waste management, timely alerts to respective authorities in case of an emergency, etc., AI has supported Governments in running their highly populated cities.

AI in Energy consumption optimization

AI sensors connected with power supply and water supply networks, give back a perfect picture of the proportions of resources used in different areas of the city. This can help in optimizing the overall energy consumption of the smart city leading to huge cost savings. Street lighting is important, but it is highly energy-consuming. Smart streetlights follow the movements of cars and pedestrians and automatically dim in areas where no movement is detected. There are ML models that can study the chemical emissions of cars and factories and take notable measures to curb the toxic gas released into our environment.

Challenges faced while creating an AI-powered Smart City

Hardware installation and maintenance costs

AI networks generally work through surveillance cameras and sensors. This high-tech equipment does require a high budget, especially when we set them up for public services. This equipment needs regular maintenance as well, leading to recurring costs. It is necessary to have a proper plan of implementation to analyze future costs and optimize set up costs. Although this cost seems to be high, in the long run, AI technology increases the efficiency of smart city procedures. This leads to increased profits, easily covering up the setup and running costs.

Natural damage or theft of AI equipment

Natural calamities like a storm can sometimes damage AI equipment set up in the open. This equipment also stands a risk of theft on some occasions, based on its location and accessibility. These incidents would increase costs for repair or replacement of the equipment. It is necessary to plan the setup locations in such a manner that they are protected from weather and at the same time, not so easily accessible.

Security and Privacy of the citizens

The use of AI-enabled surveillance cameras and microphones can prove to be extremely helpful in curbing criminal activities. At the same time, if this technology is used negatively, it will lead to an infringement of the people’s privacy and there will be no assurance of their safety. Therefore, it is of utmost importance to have stringent procedures to be followed by people to get access to such technology.

Classist discrimination in society

If AI technology is set up only in the posh localities of a smart city, it will lead to classist discrimination where the poorer people in the society will be defied of the increased benefits and efficiency. City planning committees should at all means, set up AI tech in such a manner that it benefits the majority of the people living in the Smart City. This differentiation occurs mainly due to factors like lack of AI expertise, lack of data management for custom solutions, etc. If planning committees utilize services from AI experts like Automaton AI, this gap could be filled. 

Smart City solutions with Automaton AI

Automaton AI is a full-stack AI company which offers you the ability to embrace Artificial Intelligence and Machine Learning. They specialize in AI application development, customized according to your specific needs with scope to scale as your requirement grows.

With a mission to democratize artificial intelligence, Automaton AI offers end-to-end services such as Data Labeling, Application Development, and Model Deployment. Automaton AI, with its full-stack AI platform, can deliver AI-powered software and technical solutions with real-world implications in Smart cities.

As we have kept progressing in the past and also aspire promising technology growth in the future, we are not far from the days where we live in highly developed AI-powered automated smart cities where anything we need is a push of a button away!

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