Over the past few years, investments pouring into the artificial intelligence market have surged by the billions. This has paved the way for an explosion of new technologies, not just in digital infrastructure and mainstream trades, but also in newly emerging industries like smart city development. Today’s governments harness the power of AI to gather real-time data to explore and implement more efficient and sustainable methods to run their cities. This helps them collect larger amounts of highly accurate data that can be used to spread opportunity and improve living and working standards of the city’s inhabitants. Here are three ways how corporations and governments utilise AI in urbanised settings.

1. For improved infrastructure

Cities often have trouble with proper resource allocation – most existing infrastructure built for the general public are either underused, overused or simply mismanaged due to the lack of real-time data. For instance, many drivers find it difficult to locate available parking and passengers are unaware of how long a bus trip can take. These situations inevitably lead to increased traffic and a waste of time for everyone. Such inconveniences, when accounting for the thousands of people that travel each day, can result in a massive waste of the city’s net resources.

To combat these issues, government agencies use AI controlled adaptive signal control technologies which enable traffic lights to switch their timing depending on real-time information. Today’s smart cities even have smart parking garages, where drivers can see the amount of available parking displayed right outside the garage. Meanwhile, passengers using public transport can enjoy the convenience of connected public transit technology, where they know exactly when their ride is due and how long it can take.

2. For improved public safety

Timely information gleaned through using AI in smart cities can be used to save lives and stop criminals. The LPR technology used by governments, combined with cameras and sensors that monitor parking, is commonly used by police officers to track stolen cars and catch criminal behaviour. Also, AI-powered traffic lights used to keep traffic running smoothly are used by fire trucks and ambulances to reach emergency and danger zones quickly and safely. Some smart cities also invest in AI software that can detect and alert law enforcement officials of gunshots fired anywhere within their boundaries.

3. To analyse city usage patterns

Large cities have access to countless data sources such as tax information, road sensors, legal files and even information from mass transit tickets. Among these, AI is heavily used when analysing the vast quantities of raw data gained through photos and videos. AI pattern recognition technology and deep learning are utilised in smart cities to process and examine the information from countless security cameras installed on infrastructure and both government and commercial properties. This technology can count pedestrians and vehicles, identify human faces and capture number plates, and even track the movements of vehicles to determine behaviour patterns.