Artificial city

Artificial intelligence will be used to reduce noise pollution in Entebbe

Entebbe City Council and Sunbird AI on Wednesday signed a memorandum of understanding to use Uganda-built noise monitoring sensors to measure, monitor and record noise and noise pollution levels in Entebbe.

This is part of a larger Sunbird AI initiative to do environmental sensing.

Sunbird AI is a non-profit organization that specifically focuses on artificial intelligence (AI) for social good. Sunbird AI delivers on its mandate by developing practical AI solutions for societal challenges that help generate evidence for policy formulation.

Entebbe authorities want to address health and safety concerns of residents and visitors who experience excessive noise from bars, nightclubs, beaches, places of worship, modified exhaust systems on cars and motorbikes neighborhood.

By deploying multiple AI-powered noise sensors in different areas of Entebbe, it is possible to identify noise hotspots as well as understand the noise situation in critical facilities such as hospitals, residential areas and the schools.

Ernest Mwebaze, Director of Sunbird AI, Dr Aminah Zawedde of the PS Ministry of ICT and Fabrice Brad Rulinda, Mayor of Entebbe at the MOU signing event.

According to a 2018 report by the World Health Organization, expert reviews and studies of long-term noise exposure have shown a strong link between noise exposure and the risk of adverse health effects. health, especially cardiovascular and metabolic effects.

The predominant exposure of Ugandans to noise pollution persists and continues not to diminish due to failures in the monitoring and control framework in the country.

Made in Uganda, the AI-powered sensors add intelligence to the event data transmitted by the sensors using a decibel-powered algorithm for audio analysis. This information is sent to the authorities who receive quantified observations and orientations in order to make informed decisions on “if” and “how” they will deal with the problem.

The sensors broadcast real-time data on decibel levels in an area and provide identification of the source of noise pollution to municipal authorities, which will help them better distribute it and lead to a more immediate response time.

During the presentation, Sunbird AI Director, Ernest Mwebaze, said, “Data collected by Sunbird’s AI-powered platform will automatically analyze noise and traffic patterns, enabling city officials to understand with quantifiable results the concerns of the residents of Entebbe. This will help the Mayor and his team put plans in place to address the issues of bars, nightclubs, loud beaches, gunshots and other noises in Entebbe and make it a safer and more peaceful place to stay. .

Sunbird AI Director Ernest Mwebaze makes a presentation during the signing of the Memorandum of Understanding between Entebbe City Council and Sunbird AI.

Following the signing of the Memorandum of Understanding, His Worship the Mayor of Entebbe, Fabrice Brad Rulinda said, “Health is a key priority for me during my tenure. This partnership with Sunbird AI will not only help us address noise complaints, but also proactively set targeted policies to minimize the activity causing those complaints.

“As we prepare for the start of Entebbe city status in July 2022, we are proud to be the first city in Uganda to deploy artificial intelligence to help us make our city healthier to stay. . We are well on our way to becoming a smart city,” he concluded.

His Honor the Mayor of Entebbe, Fabrice Brad Rulinda

In her remarks, the Permanent Secretary of the Ministry of ICT and National Orientation, Dr Aminah Zawedde, said: “I congratulate the Municipality of Entebbe and soon the city, for this important step. Smart cities use data and technology to increase efficiency and improve the daily lives of citizens. Entebbe is on the way to becoming a smart city through the adoption of artificial intelligence.

“A global study found that smart city technology can improve key quality of life indicators (cost of living, safety, time, jobs, connectivity, environment and health) by 10-30%. I implore other municipalities/cities/districts to adopt ICT in the management of their jurisdictions,” she added.

Permanent Secretary, Ministry of ICT and National Orientation, Dr Aminah Zawedde

Starting now, a Ugandan-made artificial intelligence sensor network will be deployed in Entebbe district to collect “hundreds of millions of rows” of anonymized data across the district – including audio snippets and data on decibel levels that will help the team understand noise patterns, how loud the neighborhood is in certain areas, and how they vary over time.

More than 100 citizen volunteers recently helped identify and label a subset of the audio snippets, which are used to train the Sunbird AI machine learning model to automatically distinguish the nature of different noises. Samples were randomized and split to maintain privacy, and the sensors do not pick up intelligible conversations from where they were placed – usually high up.

Director of Sunbird AI Ernest Mwebaze

It is Sunbird AI’s belief that government agencies mandated to control and monitor noise pollution should be equipped with technology tools that enable more effective response and enforcement.

Sunbird AI is committed to developing tools to support monitoring and enforcement of noise pollution controls in Uganda using artificial intelligence. Sunbird envisions that these tools will enable the public to be vigilant actors in detecting and reporting noise pollution.

Although district authorities and the National Environmental Management Authority (NEMA) monitor and control noise pollution, there are few documented data and trends, and it is reported that there are no systems established to manage and track noise pollution data. This poses challenges and risks in monitoring noise pollution and designing mitigation mechanisms.

The Sunbird AI Noise Monitor

Sunbird AI is keen to support cities, municipalities, and NEMA with artificial intelligence to manage and track noise pollution data.