• Urban Artificial Intelligence: How To Design A Thinking City

    Research based on Urban Artificial Intelligence has come a long way since the founding of OpenAI in 2016–17. Objects are starting to possess a sense of awareness and judgmental decision-making capabilities. At the same time, technology-driven smart city initiatives are increasing across the globe with innovations in materiality and mechanics. One could experience the intelligence of urban infrastructure through the convenient design that makes life easier. Urban Artificial Intelligence is becoming a part of not just technological development but also from a conceptual perspective. Let’s take a look at a few proposals and strategies for Urban Artificial Intelligence in developing cities.

    1. Long Term and Short Term Urban Planning

    Artificial intelligence has the capacity to process and analyse a large volume of complex data regarding traffic patterns, infrastructure, demographics, climate, etc. It offers optimum solutions to modern challenges and predicts population growth and upcoming trends, which allows planners to design effectively. 

    Urban Artificial Intelligence
    Image Credit: Autodesk

    Autodesk Forma is cloud-based AI-powered software that helps architects and urban planners during the preliminary planning and design phases. It assesses the ecological characteristics of the site and produces contextual BIM models at a faster pace.

    2. Urban Mobility and Traffic Management

    AI-powered software can improve mobility through real-time traffic updates, avoid traffic by suggesting alternate routes, and predict future traffic status. When it comes to transit-oriented development, artificial intelligence can provide valuable insights into reshaping existing road layouts and signal timing. An efficient public transit system can improve urban connectivity and pedestrian movement.

    Urban Artificial Intelligence
    Image Credit: CIRCLES

    CIRCLES stands for Congestion Impacts Reduction via CAV-in-the-loop Lagrangian Energy Smoothing. It is an AI that aims to reduce traffic jams and reduce energy consumption. 

    3. Autonomous Vehicle and Public Transportation

    In many cities, public autonomous vehicles are navigating using sensors, cameras, radar, and AI. With the help of machine learning, it can adapt and respond to changing traffic environments and avoid at-fault accidents. Robotaxis are also becoming widely popular and are one of the most widely accepted forms of autonomous mobility.

    Urban Artificial Intelligence
    Image Credit: Uber Motional

    Uber AV is back with their venture into self-driving robotaxi service after having to slow down their production after the fatal accident in 2016. This time, they signed a joint venture between Hyundai and Aptiv called Motional. It proposes service for both passengers and delivery items for Uber and its UberEats division.

    4. Infrastructure Management and Planning

    AI’s data analysis capabilities are superior to traditional infrastructure planning. After analysing the environmental conditions, demographics, and traffic, it can suggest the most efficient orientation and placement of new structures. It can also identify infrastructure that may be at risk or needs to undergo demolition.

    Urban Artificial Intelligence
    Image Credit: Picterra

    Picterra is an AI tool with applications in the fields of infrastructure management. It allows remote monitoring and evaluation of property owners through optimal site selection for new infrastructure projects based on factors like geography, land use, and accessibility.

    5. Climate-Resilient Urban Design

    During times when climate change is threatening humanity, artificial intelligence is a crucial tool in building resilience in urban design. Analysing topography, climate, and infrastructure helps identify vulnerable areas during times of adverse events. AI can also provide design strategies by providing the right materials and insights to design an efficient city.

    Urban Artificial Intelligence
    Image Credits: BrainBox

    BrainBox AI is an autonomous AI software that can generate a GHG assessment where one can compare a building’s energy use and identify areas for improvement. It also sends optimised, controlled commands to an HVAC system to minimise its emissions.

    6. Inclusive and Accessible Cities

    Urban Artificial Intelligence is playing a major role in enhancing physical and digital accessibility in city design. AI can optimise sidewalk and road width as per the requirements of wheelchairs and strollers. Digital kiosks can be made more inclusive by helping visually impaired people. AI can also identify neighbourhoods with high levels of inequality and direct beneficial policymaking.

    Urban Artificial Intelligence
    Image Credits: Intel

    Intel Interactive Kiosks are a great way to create fun and exciting experiences in spaces. It enables touchless technologies where the AI can detect hand gestures and understand speech dictation using Natural Language Processing (NLP). It provides a frictionless way to find services and products.

    7. Security Cameras and Surveillance

    Safer cities are achievable through artificial intelligence. AI-powered monitoring systems have sensors that can detect unusual movements and alert during robberies and crimes. Many cities are installing AI cameras, which can detect the number plates and facial features of vehicles breaking traffic rules and parking in unwarranted lots.

    Urban Artificial Intelligence
    Image Credits: Shield AI

    Shield AI is an AI pilot that will revolutionise military aviation by enabling swarms of drones and aircraft to access dangerous locations and protect civilians. It operates missions autonomously without a GPS or a pilot using an application called Hivemind.

    8. Smart Waste Management Strategy

    Waste management is a serious challenge in most cities. Artificial intelligence can help tackle the astounding amount of garbage on the streets through sensors and cameras. Waste bins will be able to detect when they are full and notify the authorities on time. It can also have special cameras that detect what type of trash is thrown, which can help segregate waste types.

    Urban Artificial Intelligence
    Image Credits: Pello AI

    Pello AI are smart bin sensors that can view contamination and monitor waste fill levels. Its control centre is easy to use and provides a snapshot of the key operational metrics. The machine learning image analysis detects bin contamination and sends alerts to the control centre.

    9. Sustainable Urban Landscape

    The urban landscape is not only becoming smarter and more efficient; it is also becoming more sustainable and adaptable to changing needs. After studying and analysing city data, it can design green spaces and infrastructure to become more energy efficient, support biodiversity, and reduce emissions. It can also regulate energy needs and reduce the carbon footprint.

    Image Credits: Sidewalk Labs

    Sidewalk Labs is an urban level initiative by Google to improve the quality of life in cities. It aims to enhance neighbourhood design, reduce carbon emission and optimise curbs and parking spaces. Its generative AI tool, Delve, allows smarter data-driven design options to make better choices.

    10. Disaster Management System

    There is an emerging need for artificial intelligence in disaster management. It can help forecast and prepare for disasters while also being able to mitigate and rapidly respond to reduce damage. Machine learning algorithms use historical data to respond accurately and predict outcomes. Integrating the Geographic Information System (GIS) with AI can generate geographical visualisation and spatial analytics to find a response during disasters.

    Image Credits: Arup

    Arup Terrain is a land use analysis software that provides insights at the start of the site planning process using satellite imagery and machine learning. It supports disaster modelling, risk assessment, and creating evacuation plans to coordinate emergency responses.

    Urban Artificial Intelligence can help improve city management with the help of machine learning and the Internet of Things (IoT). AI can also help bridge the gap between the people and the government by understanding the needs of the city. However, Urban Artificial Intelligence cannot be decision-makers. It can only provide options. Thus, community involvement is equally important to benefit entirely from the advantages of artificial intelligence. Even though it helps achieve sustainable design, AI itself takes up a large carbon footprint. How can Urban Artificial Intelligence be made more sustainable? Why do most recent inventions turn out to be harmful to the environment?

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