AI Use Cases

Use Cases of Artificial Intelligence in Smart Cities

AI is growing up each day as a more integrated part of our cities’ future landscape. It is helping us shape a smarter and more efficient society, and has already proven to be one of the most helpful tools that computer technology brought to humanity.

Let’s have a look at some actual use cases of AI and ML in the smart cities/utilities sector to evaluate the practical impact of these technologies from a pragmatic point of view.

Reinventing Agriculture

ML brought massive changes in agriculture, and has already started revolutionizing this sector. Although the current AI use cases in agriculture are too many to be listed, it already brought a new level of scalability.

Smart flying drones are used to collect massive amounts of environmental data about fields and crops that is later fed to smart machines. No humans can process this amount of data and find the patterns that are instead clear to the AI.

Machines are able to analyze data in real-time and make complex decisions on the spot, such as choosing or which fertilizer to use when to switch on irrigation, improving overall efficiency and sustainability.

They can also be used to run any number of simulations coming from proprietary or shared yields and predict the performance of crops.

We’re feeding data to the machines to help them feed us in exchange.

Face Detection Cameras and Movement for Public Safety

AI in face recognition technology is capable to detect the different people from their faces disclosing their personal identities.

AI in security cameras or drones can recognize the human faces and match with the database to trace his identity and authenticate the person entering the cities, societies and other restricted areas. Landmarking annotation is the technique used to train the AI-based model in the face recognition system. And to make cities smart, such high-level of face detection technology is necessary to make the surroundings more safe and private.

Smart Waste and Disposal Management System

People living in cities produce a huge amount of waste that is another challenge for urban management to find the right way of managing garbage and keep the environment clean to maintain the hygiene level in society.AI-enabled cameras can detect trash thrown on the street and recognize the types of garbage for categorization.

Watch Video: How AI-enabled Smart Waste Management System Works

Improved Commercial Chatbots

Chatbots are everywhere. It’s not possible to talk about AI/ML use cases in any vertical without finding at least one “unique” chatbot among them. But in the case of smart cities, there’s a ton of them.

It doesn’t need a technician or a technology expert to see how chatbots are already making our lives easier by transforming how people communicate with brands. Consumers can already talk with brands on their own schedule, to buy things or get the answers they need on their preferred messaging service.

Cities are becoming “smarter” as nearly every store or brand is adopting a chatbot of some kind, yet some are more intelligent than others (or at least that’s what they say). AI engines orchestrates conversational commerce interactions by blending together NLP, voice and text-based interfaces, and real human agents.

Intelligent Security Cameras

Computer vision (CV) is the subcategory of artificial intelligence (AI) that focuses on building and using digital systems to process, analyze and interpret visual data. The goal of computer vision is to enable computing devices to correctly identify an object or person in a digital image and take appropriate action.

Uses for computer vision include:

  • Biometric access management — CV plays an important role in both facial and iris recognition.
  • Industrial robots and self-driving cars — CV allows robots and autonomous vehicles to avoid collisions and navigate safely.
  • Digital diagnostics — CV can be used in tandem with other types of artificial intelligence programming to automate the analysis of X-rays and MRIs.
  • Augmented reality — CV allows mixed reality programming to know where a virtual object should be placed.

Computer vision to enhance security cameras is a pretty straightforward application of AI. 

A surveillance system supported by a robust AI looking for patterns of criminal behavior is the equivalent to a team of detectives that never sleep analyzing all video in real time.

AI-enhanced security cameras can be used in schools and businesses to cut the response time whenever action needs to be taken. For example, if the person that needs to be detected is a “white male wearing a blue shirt,” the AI can differentiate between people entering an area who corresponds to the description and send an alert in real time.

His photos and video can also be uploaded directly to local first responders, who can find segments of videos which may contain him based on keywords (white, male, and blue shirt, in the above example) instead of having to search through hours of footage.

In Japan, an AI-powered security camera is so smart that it can estimate the poses of a suspicious person who is likely to commit a shoplifting crime.

Computer Vision and Parking Systems

In the parking space, AI has been used to integrate computer vision and advanced algorithms into a smart ecosystem.By combining many advanced functions such as license plate recognition and pixel detection, off-the-shelf cameras can provide real-time information on space availability to customers and parking operators, and automatically enforce parking payment and duration.

Advanced algorithms can provide precise car position estimation, and predict parking usage during certain times of the day or night.Eventually, this technology will be a perfect match for the upcoming autonomous vehicles which will be able to “speak” directly with parking lots and garages.

Reducing Air Pollution

AI may help us save the environment in many ways, especially by reducing energy wastes, land, water, and air pollution. It has been estimated that, by 2030, the application of AI technologies could reduce global GHG emissions by at least 4%.

In Singapore, IoT sensors and AI are being used to collect and analyze air quality and levels of pollutants and temperature in the city. This data combines with AI potentially to predict where air quality issues are and will be in order to ultimately mitigate the effects with effective preventative measures.Researchers are testing a new form of AI to reduce the severity of air pollution in Beijing by analyzing data drawn from coal-fuelled factories, industrial complexes, weather conditions, and traffic congestion.The system is able to provide useful insights on how to mitigate the effects of the Chinese city’s choking air pollution, such as temporarily closing certain factories.

Improving Traffic Control

AI can help with the reduction of GHG emissions is transportation systems. Transportation can be made more sustainable even today by using computational tools to smooth traffic in all congested cities.CIRCLES — which stands for “Congestion Impact Reduction via CAV-in-the-loop Lagrangian Energy Smoothing” — simulates large amounts of vehicles driving in custom traffic scenarios.

This connected and autonomous vehicle (CAV)-enabled system can reduce energy consumption and improve traffic flow by reducing stop-and-go phantom traffic jams on freeways.Used to make cities much more livable, advanced traffic control can also help reduce air pollution. Deep learning algorithms are used to combine satellite images with traffic information obtained from smartphones and environmental IoT sensors to improve air quality predictions.AI-based automatic license plate reader (ALPR) software such as the one deployed by Rekor can also be used to provide recognize vehicles or for real-time detection of crimes and violations.

Adaptive Workplaces to Improve Employee Wellness

Probably one of the most amazing application of computer vision and AI is the creation of workplaces that are able to adapt to the needs of the employees to improve their wellness, especially in times like we’re facing today with strict self-isolation measures being felt on a global scale.

AI can be used to integrate HVAC, lighting, and security cameras together through data analysis. The system can make autonomous decisions to adapt and adjust the environment depending on activities registered or other external or internal factors.

For example: It can operate in circadian rhythm to make workers inside buildings feel as though they are outside, dimming lights to different color temperatures to simulate a particular time of day.

The system can also integrate with ceiling tiles that emulate a skylight in buildings lacking natural light. These holistic solutions can also identify needs and resources based on both real time and historical data to deliver autonomous responses that improve safety and increase energy efficiency.

Cognitive Power Plants

Even developing nations understand the importance of employing cutting-edge AI for a leg up on energy development.Beyond Limits is using a technology originated for NASA space missions to build the first cognitive plant in West Africa on behalf of Xcell, a Swiss-based global financial and minerals development company.

The efficiency of power generation from natural gas will be amplified many times-fold. The cognitive AI will be embedded in every part of the new power plant from the very beginning of its construction.

The efficiency and productivity of natural gas power plants have always been plagued by adverse environmental conditions, such as temperature and humidity. Beyond Limits’ AI is intelligent and aware enough to assist operators with its encoded expert-level human knowledge to make real-time adjustments.

Instead of producing unneeded power in excess that cannot be stored, the software can constantly monitor the gas turbines and the entire system to prevent wasted production or lose profit because of the underproduction.

Coupled with its ability to coordinate several interconnected production units at the same time, this futuristic power plant will be more efficient, productive, safe, and environmentally friendly.

Accurate Predictions and Forecasts

One of the most frequently implemented applications of AI in nearly all industries and sectors, is the ability to make accurate forecasts and develop reliable prediction models.

Social and attitudinal factors are particularly salient in the case of new alternative energy products. Many energy and utility companies are using AI models to make these products accessible and interesting enough to consumers and governments, and predict their uptake.

In combination with IoT and big data, AI can analyze potential demand, typical pricing and government rebates which may affect the price, industry trends, as well as other social and geographical factors.

Once all this data is digested, an accurate forecast can help companies estimate the investment costs and returns for the product, increasing the likelihood of a renewable energy sources to be accepted and implemented.

AI-Powered Pavement Management

AI can be applied to strengthen public infrastructure by leveraging predictive maintenance to improve its availability, reduce accidents, and prioritize maintenance needs.

Pavement maintenance, in particular, is important to always keep roads safe, accessible, and secure, both inside and outside cities and towns. Maintenance involve different approaches, and choosing when it’s best to go for a routine rather than corrective or preventive intervention is never easy when budget constraints are always an issue.

The wrong decision may cost a lot more money in the long run, or expose vehicles to dangerous driving situations.

Smart Energy Metering

For public sector entities, such as large energy, power and utility companies, real-time information on energy usage can reduce wastage and loss, improve the efficiency of grid operation, optimize storage, and enhance predictive infrastructure maintenance.

Smart meters are an application of AI and ML which hold high potential in the energy and utilities field. AI, ML and the  IoT form a crucial component of the government’s vision of smart cities and smart industrial zones.

Cities provide a wealth of information that can be captured using IoT devices in real-time, including energy consumption. Power inputs can be adjusted automatically, leading to important savings, more secure supplies, and fewer outages.

Smart meters are useful even on a smaller scale as well. By using them, customers can tailor their energy requirements and thus reduce costs. The data generated in the process could be used for customized tariffs and more efficient supply

IoT-Enabled Park Benches

One of the most jaw-dropping ideas that the Paris administration has recently implemented, comes in the form of sensors placed on park benches  to make them “smart.” The new IoT-enabled park benches are able to collect a constant stream of information that can be digested and analyzed by AI for a broad range of urban planning uses.

They can provide insights on environmental factors such as air quality by monitoring pollution levels, temperature, and atmospheric pressure. They can assist city planners by collecting data on frequency of traffic and space usage.

They can even “talk” with park habitués and tourists to ask for feedback on the facilities through a downloadable app.