Using AI to improve sustainability in Smart Cities

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Fifteen consortiums have applied for the chance to set up a Centre of Excellence in Artificial Intelligence tasked with helping Indian cities achieve demonstrable improvements in the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) that are relevant to them.

Union Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman had announced the setting up of three Centres of Excellence in Artificial Intelligence in Agriculture, Health and Sustainable Cities during last year’s Union Budget speech. Each Centre will get a fund of ₹300 crore. These centres are expected to spearhead and guide cutting edge interdisciplinary research in coordination with industry, academia, and other stakeholders. They will help create AI-based applications and scalable solutions and products that have a disproportionate societal impact, according to the call for proposals for these centres.

The Centre for sustainable cities will be set up by the Ministry of Education in collaboration with the Ministry of Housing and Urban Affairs. “A total of 15 consortiums have applied till January 15 which was the last date. Out of these, the apex committee will select five, who will be given Proof of Concepts and initial funding for a year,” said Kunal Kumar, CEO of the Smart Cities Mission. “After one year, they will be evaluated and then one will be selected to run the project,” he added.

Reduce energy use, pollution

The Centre of Excellence on AI for sustainable cities will strive to help the Smart Cities reduce energy consumption in target sectors by 15%; reduce air and water pollution by 10%; improve sewage and garbage disposal outcomes by 25%, leading to a reduction in pollutant levels in rivers and seas, as well as an increase in the reclamation of water and solid waste; and improve access to transportation, leading to a 20% reduction in commuting time.

The call for proposals required these indicative outcomes to be appropriately incorporated into the proposed solutions.



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