Any smart city initiative prioritizes citizen security and safety. So how do city administrators use AI and IoT in this regard? This note examines some use cases from Taiwan.
Any smart city
initiative prioritizes citizen security and safety. So how do city administrators use AI and IoT in this regard? This note examines some use cases from Taiwan.
Across the globe, urbanization is in full swing. According to Urbanet
, in 2015 54 percent of the world population lived in cities. The number is expected to rise to 66 percent by 2050.
Inevitably, this leads to various problems and issues in cities. Municipal administrators then turn to smart city solutions, which entail the use of AI and IoT to address those issues.
One of the most important objectives for smart city projects is enhancing security, safety and quality of life. How then do city administrators use AIoT to achieve that? Below are some examples from cities in Taiwan. They demonstrated their smart security solutions during the Smart City Summit and Expo (SCSE) held in Taipei March 23-26
Drone police force
More and more, policing has turned smart, assisted by IoT devices including IP cameras. However, IP cameras only capture video seen from the ground. Video taken from the sky is often needed to make the view more complete.
That’s why New Taipei City formed Taiwan’s first drone police force. It is consisted of 18 officers and five drones, all made in Taiwan. Each officer is certified by Taiwan’s Civil Aviation Commission to control the drones.
“Ground surveillance tends to have blind spots. That’s why we also need aerial shots taken from drones. They provide comprehensive footage to assist the commander in the decision-making process,” one of the drone pilots said at the exhibition.
The drones have already been flown to complete various tasks.
“They were used in the Danshui Cherry Blossom Festival earlier this year which drew a lot of traffic. The aerial shots were able to pinpoint which spots had more traffic. Illegal parking was also detected. We then dispatched officers there to respond,” the officer said.
The drones use dedicated channels to transmit video. The footage is transmitted to the remote control, viewed by the commander at the site. The drones are waterproof and can fly in rainy weather.
Another draw of the drones is battery redundancy. “Batteries are hot-swappable. For other drones, you need to switch off first before changing the batteries – this will incur a delay of five to 10 minutes. Our drones do not have this issue,” the officer said.
Besides security, citizen safety is also a top priority. More and more, cities use AIoT for disaster prevention and response
. New Taipei also has use cases in this regard.
Command center solution
Each year Taiwan is subject to several typhoons. Disaster spots emerge after each one. An emergency response system is therefore needed. New Taipei City again has the solution.
“Taiwan has its share of severe weather-related disasters. After each event, there are always reports of mudslides, floods and power outages,” said a New Taipei Fire Department staffer at the exhibition.
“Before, each disaster spot is notified to the command center chief on paper, which is really ineffective. A digitized command center disaster response system that gathers all information on one single dashboard is needed. We began doing that in 2018 to great results,” the staffer said.
The command center solution shows all disaster spots on a digital map. Each spot is represented by a circle. A more disastrous spot is represented by a star. Ongoing cases and closed cases are color-coded differently.
The solution is web-based. “This has many benefits. One is that it’s accessible to relevant officials no matter where they are. Sometimes the commander is on the field, and he can still see this clearly,” the staffer said.
Flood detection systems
During a typhoon or even a sudden afternoon thunderstorm, floods can occur. To better prevent and deal with them, AIoT is needed. New Taipei City again has the solution.
“We have above-ground and sewerage flood detection systems; the former is attached to poles near ground surface, and the latter is installed in sewers,” said a New Taipei official at the exhibition.
“Before, we get reports of floods. We arrive at the scene, see the flood, yet have no detailed data to work with. The water then recedes, and we’re still left with little or no information,” he continued.
“But now with the detection systems, we can have better situational awareness and insights. If the system detects a flood starting to form, we can deal with it immediately to prevent it from becoming out-of-control.”
He continued: “We can also have more data for future planning and improvement. For example, if there’s a flood yet no water in the sewers, we know we have a problem – the water isn’t going into the sewerage.”
“Or, conversely, if there’s water both on ground and in the sewers, we know the sewerage has reached its full capacity, and renovation and upgrades are needed.”
The detection systems are all about sensors. Both on-ground and in-sewerage sensors are water pressure sensors that can detect rising water levels.
“The data is transmitted via NB-IoT; since there’s no video, 4G or 5G isn’t needed. Since the sensors are based on NB-IoT, they consumer little power. The battery can last a year-and-half to two years,” he said.
The systems are already deployed in flood-prone areas in New Taipei. “They have been very effective. Each time after a heavy afternoon thunderstorm, we get the intended data from the systems,” he said.