How AI-enabled video is making cities smarter

Advances in artificial intelligence (AI) have been hitting headlines across the world, yet some of the most impactful forms of AI are yet to be realised.

AI is already transforming video surveillance, however, and the combination of the two has the potential to make our cities safer and more pleasant to visit – while ensuring transport and other critical services run smoothly.

This is revealed in recent research from Hanwha Vision, which asked smart city leaders about the technology they use to better connect towns and cities with the people who live, visit and work in them.

Increasing efficiency with AI

Hanwha Vision’s research found that more than one in two (51%) managers in city planning roles expect to create new efficiencies through AI-enabled video technology. These include the efficient deployment of resources to manage crowds, as well as ensuring transport systems are optimised.

Meanwhile, nearly three times as many leaders expect AI video to provide a solution to their challenges when compared to automation or robotics. Such is the interest in the technology that smart city leaders rate the potential of AI-enabled video as similar to 5G and the IoT.

Data-driven decision-making

For those running our towns and cities, the adoption of AI in cameras is expanding video beyond its traditional role of maintaining security towards one where it delivers significant operational efficiencies.

Managers intend to use AI video to improve the quality of life for citizens and better manage city assets and infrastructure. As a result, traditional security functions of video, such as identifying traffic violations (10%), alerting managers to antisocial, threatening, or violent behaviour (7%) and identifying break-ins or vandalism attempts (2%) – were considered to be lower down their list of priorities.

The top applications for AI video in smart cities

Indeed, when it comes to the top five applications for AI-enabled video in smart cities, efficiency and quality of life rate higher than security:

  1. Deploying sufficient resources to manage crowding in public spaces (43%).
  2. Managing the efficient flow of public transport, such as buses, trams and trains (38%).
  3. Spotting hazards such as broken down vehicles or spilt lorry loads on busy roads (38%).
  4. Identifying which types of vehicles use roads and when to plan road repairs and construction better (36%).

5. Monitoring air quality and other environmental conditions in towns and cities (34%).

Street smart technology

A good example of using AI-enabled video is its role in keeping city streets moving smoothly. Key to the successful management of traffic in busy towns and cities is data on traffic volumes, average speeds and the early detection of traffic incidents that present a risk to road users and cause delays. Video provides that data, and AI can alert operators to traffic situations before they pose a problem.

Hanwha Vision’s Road AI solution delivers insights on highway usage and safety by automatically detecting traffic incidents in real time and alerting operators to hazards such as broken-down vehicles or even spilt cargo on roads. Using AI-enabled video, the impact of traffic jams can be mitigated by altering the timing of traffic lights and opening new lanes on the basis of visual alerts from video cameras. It also helps city planners better understand how roads are used and by what types of vehicles, so they can develop, monitor and enforce low-emission road use plans.

Read the full research report here to learn more about how AI-enabled video is transforming smart cities.