A smart solution that removes unnecessary waiting in red traffic lights is tested in Helsinki. The other solution being tested in the city optimises the energy use of buildings by means of artificial intelligence. The pilots are part of the international AI4Cities project, which aims to reduce emissions in European cities.
This summer, a smart solution for traffic control developed by Marshall AI and Dynniq Finland Oy is tested in the City of Helsinki. The pilot will be carried out at selected intersections in the Suutarila neighbourhood. The solution uses computer vision to detect vehicles, cyclists and pedestrians at intersections. When there are no road users coming from a direction where the lights are green, the solution will guide the traffic lights to change to green in a direction where people are coming from.
This means that the solution removes the dead seconds that the road user is unnecessarily spending waiting for the lights to change. The objective is not only to improve traffic flow and ease congestion, but also to cut traffic emissions by between 3% and 8%.
“Road traffic alone accounts for more than one quarter of EU emissions. The majority of urban traffic emissions are generated when vehicles stop and accelerate at intersections. The solution developed by the AI4Cities project will significantly reduce these emissions without negative impacts on any traffic user group,” MarshallAI’s CEO Marcus Nordström says.
The AI4Cities project aims to reduce carbon dioxide emissions in cities, especially in mobility and the energy sectors. The project is coordinated by the City of Helsinki’s innovation company Forum Virium Helsinki.
“The City of Helsinki aims to be carbon-neutral by 2030, and this project will contribute to this objective,” says Project Manager Kaisa Sibelius from Forum Virium Helsinki.
Energy use and emissions of buildings down with the help of AI
AI4Cities is conducting another pilot in Helsinki, which optimises the energy consumption of properties. The pilot will be conducted at Kaisaniemi primary school and at the premises of Stadin AO, Helsinki Vocational College and Adult Institute in Meritalo. The energy consumption of buildings can be optimised, planned and scheduled in advance with the help of AI when it is known when renewable energy will be available, when the buildings will be used and how the weather affects energy demand.
For example, the objective is to activate the heating and ventilation of the property during the times when the most renewable energy is available. When the building is empty, heating, ventilation and cooling may be turned off. However, the optimisation will not reduce comfort within the building.
The solution was developed by the BEE consortium, which includes the Finnish Eeneman Ltd, Metropolia University of Applied Sciences and the German Unetiq GmbH. The solution is expected to reduce the energy consumption and emissions of properties by around 15%. As the demand for energy is reduced, economic savings are also generated.
“The heating of buildings accounts for 56% of Helsinki’s emissions, with electricity consumption accounting for about 15%. Reducing the energy consumption of properties is an essential part of achieving the City’s emission reduction goals. The solution of the BEE consortium can support the City’s objectives. Instruments can be implemented for different user groups to illustrate the indoor air quality, energy consumption and energy savings and emissions impacts of properties,” says Tapio Toivanen, CEO of Eeneman Ltd.
New AI solutions piloted in six major European cities
The aim of the AI4Cities project is to find solutions to reduce carbon dioxide emissions in cities. This summer, the project will conduct pilots in Amsterdam, Copenhagen, Paris, Stavanger and Tallinn, in addition to Helsinki.
AI4Cities has completed the process during which companies have proceeded from designing prototypes to the piloting phase. The best candidates have been selected from each phase, and seven companies have entered the testing phase. In the initial open call for new AI solutions, nearly a hundred tenders were submitted by companies across Europe. AI4Cities has allocated a total of EUR 1.45 million for the pilots.