Montreal, the French-Canadian capital of Quebec, is among the world’s smartest cities. In 2016, it was awarded the title of “Intelligent Community of the Year,” and since then, it hasn’t rested on its laurels. Montreal faces the problems of all major urban centres, crippling traffic congestion, aging infrastructure, and inclement weather. Its solution to governing these issues intelligently is pairing the best sensor tech with artificial intelligence (AI).
Collaborating with a private startup, Infra.AI, the city hopes to provide real-time information to help it better serve its citizens. By mounting LiDAR on city vehicles, and by gathering complementary information from drones and satellites, Montreal thinks it can better manage its resources and provide the quality of life its residents crave. For example, potholes only 30 cm across can be recognised by these sensor systems, which then automatically summon a repair crew. Similarly, intelligent traffic information can reroute emergency vehicles to avoid potentially deadly delays. And by providing constant monitoring of critical infrastructure, Montreal’s government will be forewarned of impending problems. For instance, in partnership with Waze, a crowdsourced Google traffic app, the city uses more than 500 traffic cameras and 700 smart signals to prioritise public transport, shortening commute time by up to 15 to 20%.
Even if your city hasn’t embraced sensors and AI, it soon will. No urban centre can afford to ignore the power of these tools to mitigate problems like congestion. And with synthetic sensors set to surge in popularity, this is a trend certainly worth watching. We’re pretty sure that you can look forward to a day in the near future when one simple device can make your home smart. And if that wasn’t enough, advances over the next few years will bring us driverless cars, guilt-free football, and better public services.
Sensors, then, are at the heart of innovations improving our quality of life. From fighting congestion to saving lives, from transforming our homes to keeping score in the World Cup, sensor tech is increasingly essential.
*) This article was brought to you by Richard van Hooijdonk. International keynote speaker, trend watcher and futurist Richard van Hooijdonk offers inspiring lectures on how technology impacts the way we live, work and do business. Over 420,000 people have already attended his renowned inspiration sessions, in the Netherlands as well as abroad. He works together with RTL television and presents the weekly radio program ‘Mindshift’ on BNR news radio. Van Hooijdonk is also a guest lecturer at Nyenrode and Erasmus Universities.
**) Featured image: Kristina Servant (cc)