Artificial system

Understand the role of artificial intelligence (AI) in building smart cities and the best startups working on it

A report of McKinsey Global Institute find that ‘Smart Cities’ can improve key quality of life indicators by 10-30% – such as shorter commutes, less crime, reduced health problems and even lower carbon emissions. Smart cities use technology and data to make better decisions and provide a better quality of life.

What makes a city smart?

A Smart City is a city with intelligent physical, civic and economic infrastructure. It offers innovative technology, public services and mobility to its residents, without bureaucratic hassles. The ultimate goal of a Smart City is a better quality of life, living comfort, economic growth and sustainable development.

According to McKinsey Global Institute study, three layers combine to make a smart city functional:

  1. Technological base consisting of smartphones and sensors producing data and connected to high-speed networks.
  2. Computers to process raw data, provide information and give alerts.
  3. The general public is adopting and using these technologies leading to better decisions and behavior change.

How can Artificial Intelligence (AI) be used in Smart Cities?

  • Traffic management: Intelligent traffic management systems can solve the problem of congestion by notifying drivers of roadblocks and delays. It can predict and reduce traffic using deep learning algorithms, which will help reduce carbon emissions. Traffic accidents can be drastically reduced by using traffic violation detection systems and AI-enabled cameras.
  • Preservation of the environment : AI can be used to analyze citizens’ energy usage data and decide where renewable energy sources can be used. Additionally, cities can see where energy is wasted and suggest measures to save it. AI can also analyze and predict pollution levels, which will help authorities make decisions that are best suited to the environment.
  • Public transport: With the help of AI, users can get live transit updates, improving timing and customer satisfaction. Automated buses in cities can reduce emissions and improve routes.
  • Car park: With license plate recognition technology, parking lots can issue tickets to vehicles that have been parked longer than they should. Waiting users can be notified of space availability based on the size of their car.
  • Health care: Patient monitoring systems can detect chronic diseases in advance and help prevent them. Citizen health reports can be analyzed for medical consultation. Chatbots can provide medical assistance, informational support and also schedule appointments.
  • Waste Management: Artificial intelligence can distinguish between different types of waste, track their closest location and monitor their fill level, thus avoiding overflows. AI can sort recyclables much more efficiently and quickly.
  • Security: AI-enabled cameras can detect criminal behavior and report it instantly to authorities. Drones can recognize human faces and compare them to a database to trace their identity and authenticate someone entering the city or restricted areas.

Companies involved in the application of AI in smart cities

  • ARCubed, a New Zealand-based startup, has made an AI smart trash can called A tray, which uses computer vision to sort recyclable materials from waste. This eliminates sorting errors and diverts waste from landfills. Waste collectors are also notified when the bin is full.
  • Deep Tech Startup, The machine can see offers vehicle motion prediction. It analyzes and models cars in an urban area using computer vision and physical simulation. The startup is also involved in building smart parking solutions.
  • Pure Skies, created by Devic Landis an air pollution control device that operates on Wi-Fi enabled pulsed radio wave technology. It accelerates the removal of pollutants 6 to 7 times the natural rate of the dry deposition process.
  • Sentinel AI offers security monitoring solutions. It uses computer vision for face and vehicle detection. It can be used for property management to detect any intrusion or unusual behavior.
  • Upciti ensures the optimal flow of people and goods through AI-based image analysis. It provides solutions like smart parking by counting vehicles and pedestrians and smart lighting to reduce energy consumption.
  • Hayden AI combines computer vision with on-board sensors and built-in connectivity like 5G to help municipalities create smarter fleets that can protect bus and bike lanes, secure school zones, and more. It makes traffic more efficient and less dangerous and automates complex processes, and improves public service delivery.
  • IntelliVision provides information and intelligence for security monitoring. It can detect intrusions, recognize faces as well as license plate numbers.
  • To arrive is committed to improving parking in cities by providing smart parking solutions. Thanks to its technology, users can even use Alexa to help them park.
  • Telensa helps cities reduce their energy consumption and carbon emissions. The sensors in each lamppost are connected to a central management system, from which light levels can be adjusted based on data from other sensors.

What are the benefits of integrating AI into Smart Cities?

  • The application of AI in cities will improve personalized service delivery, help make forecasts and predict future trends, and simulate the adoption of various policies before its implementation.
  • It will help improve the city’s financial management through targeted forecasting and expense management.
  • It will strengthen equity in cities by suggesting and acting on social protection systems such as public distribution, primary health care and education.
  • AI in smart cities will have a positive impact on the environment through the management of energy, waste and traffic.
  • AI will increase worker productivity with the help of efficient products and services, thereby increasing the economic growth of the city.

What are the challenges of integrating AI into Smart Cities?

  • The lack of funds and technological advance is a significant challenge in the development of AI-based cities.
  • Implementing and maintaining sensors in a smart city requires expensive infrastructure.
  • Natural disasters like floods can damage AI equipment.
  • The privacy and security of citizens are other major issues. The threat of cyberattacks will always hang over the population.
  • When developing Smart Cities, it must be ensured that the data collected is free from all kinds of bias. Additionally, the data collection process should be transparent and consent-based.

AI-based smart cities can play a pivotal role in transforming urban areas to raise living standards and drive economic growth. However, the aforementioned challenges prevent him from achieving his goal and need to be addressed urgently. Additionally, government, tech companies, and citizens need to collaborate so that AI can be used to create thriving cities.



I am a civil engineering graduate (2022) from Jamia Millia Islamia, New Delhi and have a keen interest in data science especially neural networks and their application in various fields.

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