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Harnessing Artificial Intelligence to Transform Urban Traffic Management

Big data, Internet of Things, Machine Learning, and Artificial Intelligence are some of the most talked about innovative technologies that are all set to reshape our future in more ways than one can dream of. AI or Artificial Intelligence refers to any type of intelligent activity, which is performed by mechanical devices rather than humans.

We often come across such intelligent devices in our daily lives. Any machine that is capable of acting in response to human speech can be considered to exhibit Artificial Intelligence. Artificial Intelligence is being leveraged to make machines perform actions based on the previous experience.

Applying AI in Traffic Management

Traffic management is one of the most successful implementations of this new and disruptive technology as exhibited by the City Brain project by Alibaba in China and Malaysia. Artificial Intelligence has huge potential of controlling several aspects of urban living and traffic is one of these.

Going from one place to another has become relatively simpler due to applications such as Google Maps that provide wealth of information including the shortest route and real time traffic conditions. Users are required to share their geographical location and the smart app will use huge volumes of data and offer information about the most optimum route to reach a particular destination.

Traffic woes have been impacting development in cities across Asia and Alibaba proposes to ease the same by harnessing the might of cloud computing through its cloud arm Alibaba Cloud. Armed with its huge success in Hangzhou city Alibaba is all set to deploy its cloud based traffic management system known as City Brain.

Highlights of City Brain

City Brain has succeeded in improving reporting of issues related with violations of traffic rules up to ninety five percent precision while enhancing the traffic speed by fifteen percent as reported by the leading news agency Reuters. AI powered City Brain is designed to predict traffic movement and provide valuable information about traffic related events by integrating real time data from mapping apps, video coverage, traffic departments, and public transport systems.

This information is used to guide emergency vehicles including fire fighters, ambulances and enforcement vehicles so that these can reach destination much quicker and without any hassles. It is proposed that City Brain will be instrumental in planning roads in developing cities by leveraging its ability to study traffic patterns.

Implementation of City Brain in Kuala Lumpur is viewed as Alibaba Cloud’s maiden venture outside China. Alibaba is going to partner with the council of this major Malaysian city as well as Digital Economy Corporation which happens to be a government owned organization for business development.

Kuala Lumpur is an important business district of Malaysia and is poised to experience power of Cloud Computing as Alibaba’s smart traffic management system integrates hundreds of traffic cameras and traffic signals to mark the beginning of the ambitious drive to reshape the traffic monitoring system.

Impressive Performance

City Brain was introduced in Chinese city of Hangzhou that is fifth most traffic-congested cities in China, almost three years ago in order to alleviate traffic associated problems. Alibaba Cloud was accorded access and control over 104 traffic signals in the city to reduce traffic snarls through smart use of traffic monitoring data collected by a large number of cameras.

The entire exercise was initially limited to a single district and spanned over twelve months and the results were extremely encouraging. In addition to improvement of traffic speed, City Brain also offered real time information of accidents to help ambulance and emergency vehicles reach the location faster.

Encouraged by the success in Xiaoshan district, the City Brain project was instituted across entire Hangzhou for seamless as well as accurate monitoring and tracking of city’s traffic.

New Destination

Malaysian city of Kuala Lumpur has been earmarked by Alibaba as the next stop for implementation of City Brain due to Malaysia’s progress in terms of digital transformation. This Asian country has immense potential for implementation of smart city projects through adoption of cloud computing.

City Brain will be instrumental in gathering enormous data with respect to traffic movement, transportation, and traffic patterns from a large spectrum of sources offered by city councils. This data can be leveraged to design future projects and can also be used by private companies.

Way Forward

Alibaba may think of sharing the data with private companies for price or can also offer the City Brain platform to accomplish projects to Malaysian businesses, developers, or academic institutions among others. Small enterprises can leverage Alibaba’s cloud computing resources in terms of Artificial Intelligence and Machine Learning. Tianchi is a good example of how Alibaba is collaborating with millions of developers from thousands of academic institutions spread across the globe.

Meanwhile, after completion of the first phase of City Brain’s deployment, across the central business district of Kuala Lumpur, Malaysian government proposes to spread the power of cloud computing all over Kuala Lumpur.

About Rahul Singh (8 Posts)

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