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Today, more than half the world’s population lives in cities. By 2050, an estimated 70% of the world will likely live in urban areas. At the same time, cities account for more than 70% of global greenhouse gas emissions. Around the world, poorly planned urbanization has led to a shortage of affordable housing and insufficient infrastructure for public transportation and essential services. Fortunately, the emergence of technologies such as AI and IoT can help shape a more innovative city for the future. In this article, we’ll explore some of the use cases for these technologies in building the smart cities of tomorrow:
Predictive AI technology can help various industries that operate and power cities. In a previous article about AI saving the planet, we wrote about the technology’s ability to predict and prevent asset and plant failure in the energy sectors. Making safety processes and measures more efficient using AI is important, as shutdowns, turnarounds, and outages can impact worker health and safety and cause environmental damage. By pre-emptively identifying issues and potential failures, industries can also focus their resources and workers on other aspects of their processes. The use of industrial AI can prevent unnecessary costs, safety incidents, and damage to the planet in the long run.
Collaborative robot arms make effective solutions for food services, improving restaurant efficiency and productivity. Unlike conventional images of robots, however, cobots are collaborative in nature and work alongside humans instead of replacing them entirely. Robotics predictions point towards the adoption of collaborative robot arms (cobots) into mainstream production processes. Contrary to the traditional industrial robots that are large, bulky, and heavy, cobots are smaller and have more flexibility. This allows them to do more fine-tuned applications like packing and assembly, improving production and deployment. While the deployment of robots in restaurants may happen much later in the future, the use of cobots in restaurants can already be seen in places like San Francisco’s Creator, which serves burgers prepared and cooked by an integrated robot.
With electric and self-driving cars becoming more prominent in cities worldwide, using AI in smart transportation is not necessarily a new concept. In fact, the global smart transportation market is expected to reach £237.48 by 2030. Using AI and IoT technologies, transportation systems can provide customers with detailed transportation information, such as actual arrival information for public commutes and instant visibility and alerts for accidents or issues affecting citywide congestion on public streets. Today, countries such as the UK aim to use emerging technologies to help decarbonise commuting and make railways part of an integrated passenger and freight network for added efficiency. Moving forward, we can expect additional applications of AI and IoT for better transportation.
Lastly, the use of IoT in energy optimisation can enable real-time control and automation of devices to minimize energy consumption. IoT sensors can detect human or vehicle motion to conserve energy. Using 5G technology to improve bandwidth, reduce latency, and provide 24/7 availability, smart city managers can ensure that necessary technologies aren’t wasting energy when not detecting humans or vehicles in proximity, for example. AI can further enhance this, discovering patterns and detecting areas of significant usage to provide critical insights for energy management systems. As the smart cities of the future will operate using a vast array of technologies to maximise efficiency, energy optimisation is an important aspect of development to ensure minimal harm is done to the environment.
Author: Beth Simmons
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