Smart City | Transportation system needs AI development progress, experts say

The SAR has taken several initiatives in the field of artificial intelligence such as establishing a partnership with Alibaba Cloud on the project of Smart Cities.

However, for some AI experts, the city still has a long way to go, particularly in its transportation system.

Waltraut Ritter, director of Knowledge Dialogues and vice chair of ICT Business Council – EuroCham Hong Kong, said that partnerships with large cloud computing firms will not suffice in successfully turning the SAR into a smart city.

By leveraging the technologies of Alibaba Cloud, the SAR partnered with the firm in 2017 to upgrade its IT infrastructure.

The plan seeks to accelerate Macau’s development in several key areas, namely tourism, information technology training, transportation management, medical services and urban management.

“Alibaba is quite famous for city brain and centralized data planning. But I think to make a smart city really livable, you need the involvement of citizens and that’s really important,” said Ritter, speaking at the sidelines of a networking event hosted by the France Macau Chamber of Commerce.

“It cannot be private and public partnerships; citizens need to be involved,” she added.

The expert also noted that gaming operators benefit significantly from AI as they use video analytics and data analytics to study consumer behaviors, thus predicting future consumer behavior trends.

Meanwhile, Ritter expressed that the city’s transportation system remains a challenge for Macau’s tourists, arguing that the current reliance on the Transport Bureau app itself limits the application.

“Transport is one area where you can see the benefits of connectivity and data sharing very easily. As a visitor in Macau and [with the] use of buses, I must say it’s very difficult to not have the mobile application,” said Ritter.

“I think that is something we can think about: a human centric AI. […] Now, we only rely on the app, but the app is not inclusive.  From an EU perspective, you want to make it more inviting for people to use public transport,” the expert added.

Echoing the same sentiments, one of the speakers in the panel, Maciej Pondel, Upsaily product manager and machine learning researcher and professor at Wroclaw University of Economics, said that from a visitor’s perspective, the city’s transportation system is a “huge problem.”

“It’s a huge problem to understand how to travel across [districts]. For a resident, there isn’t any problem but for tourists there is,” said Pondel.

Pondel suggested that an integrated device may be launched for tourists to find their way from one place to another.

“I hope Macau can acquire [AI knowledge] from different places and sources, such as from the US, Europe and China,” he said.

The 28th International Joint Conference on Artificial Intelligence is being held at The Venetian Macao until August 16.

Categories Macau