Home ยป Three Examples of How AI Can Improve Cities, Make Them Safer

Three Examples of How AI Can Improve Cities, Make Them Safer

Artificial intelligence is something savvy cities have started embracing to improve their operations and keep their constituents safe...

Artificial Intelligence

Artificial Intelligence is one of those buzzwords that gets associated with pretty much everything these days. Typically, however, it’s seldom used in the context of making municipalities smarter. And that’s what we want to address — in today’s article, we’re highlighting three unique ways how this modern technology can help make cities or even wider counties safe. Here’s what we’ve got:

Detecting water leaks

An AI-enabled system, coupled with sensors, could help cities detect costly water losses in municipal water systems.

While major problems such as burst pipes are revealed by pressure changes, volume fluctuations or water simply bubbling to the surface — small leaks often go undetected for years.


The technology, developed by researchers at the University of Waterloo in collaboration with industry partners, has the potential to detect even small leaks in pipes. By combining sophisticated signal processing techniques and AI software, it can distinguish between a fully sealed pipe and one that is leaking even a small amount of water.

The acoustic signatures are recorded by hydrophone sensors that can be easily and inexpensively installed in existing fire hydrants without excavation or taking them out of service.

It is estimated that municipal water systems in Canada lose an average of over 13% of their clean water between treatment and delivery due to leaks, bursts and other issues. Countries with older infrastructure have even higher loss rates, so yes – this sort of technology has real-world use cases both in the developed and developing world.

Helping limit coronavirus spread

The coronavirus pandemic has caused many problems for people all around the world, prompting governments and companies to find new ways to work. One of the things authorities have been doing involves frequent temperature checks for people congregating at certain places. That is a tedious task that often leaves many people unchecked; luckily, there is a novel solution that can automate this process.

Kogniz smart camera

In April 2020, Kogniz launched an AI-enabled camera and software system that can scan groups and crowds entering a facility and identify anyone with an elevated temperature, which is one of the leading coronavirus (COVID-19) symptoms. Once someone with an elevated temperature is detected, Kogniz’s system alerts personnel so that the individual with a fever can be isolated as needed.

The company’s Health Cam features an integrated thermal camera, optical camera, and a high-resolution screen. It can be placed on a desk or counter, mounted on a wall, or placed on a tripod. As people walk by individually or in groups, their temperatures are checked in real-time using what Kogniz says is highly accurate infrared technology, and the image of any person showing an elevated temperature is displayed. The Kogniz Health Cam can detect skin temperature up to 16 feet away.

The Health Cam uses advanced AI to detect a person’s temperature near the eyes to get the most accurate reading. The system does not require any additional equipment and adjusts automatically to changes in ambient temperatures.

Kogniz Health Cams set up in minutes and can be added to an unlimited number of locations.

Detecting wildfires

Korea’s visual recognition AI firm Alchera is specialized in the early detection of fires, which helped it score a contract from California’s Sonoma County.

Under the deal announced in March 2021, Alchera will offer consulting services to develop and deliver products utilizing state-of-the-art fire detection technologies based on machine learning with AI. The firm’s visual anomaly detection solution can detect the start of a wildfire from a simple video in order to survey areas unreachable by humans.

AIIR screen

Specifically, the software called AIIR looks for smoke and fire when and where human operators cannot, and acts as a tireless assistant. Once smoke or fire is detected from the connected camera, it is shown to the monitoring system dashboard. From there, a human operator can confirm the fire and take the necessary steps. If needed, this will also trigger automated alerts by email or SMS as desired — drastically reducing the response time for emergency center operators. This further allows for human verification and relearning for low false positives and a continually advancing system.

Alchera’s AI allows for 1 human operator to effectively monitor 200+ cameras at a time.

The firm has started with the implementation of real-time early wildfire detection on Sonoma County cameras in March 2021.

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