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Robots Creating Automated Urban Environment in the Next Decade

The future of the world will be urban, with most people living in cities. In Asia and Africa, a growing youth population will live mainly in new or fast-growing towns, while in the west, the aging population in their urban environment faces different challenges, even in old age.

The global growth of cities will create opportunities to improve the quality of life for everyone. It will also bring significant solutions to air pollution, more energy, water, and controlled spaces that are open or safe. Strategic solutions for robotics and autonomous systems (RAS) can lead to smarter urban growth in areas such as transportation, logistics, policing, health care, maintenance, construction, and more.

Challenges of New or Developing Cities

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Africa and Asia will see the fastest growth in urban areas over the next 20 years, according to UK-RAS. Africa is becoming urban fast: The city population is expected to increase to 569 million (45 percent) by 2020, compared to 413 million (40 percent) in 2010.

Asia is also experiencing rapid urbanization, mainly due to accelerated growth in China and India, where people are moving away from rural poverty. According to UK-RAS estimates in Asia, the urban population will increase to 2.08 billion (47 percent) by 2020, compared to 1.67 billion (41 percent) in 2010.

New urban areas face different challenges, as do existing cities. This includes:

– Infrastructure and building designs that meet higher environmental and efficiency standards.

– Problems with lack of infrastructure and “forced acceptance” are informal until the support is gotten.

– Social and economic differences between people in areas and people in high-quality housing areas.

– Availability of adequate materials to build new infrastructure and environments

The integration will be a big challenge. In the face of a city boom, growth is often seen in informal settlements where adequate services are lacking, said the White Paper. Urban development must find ways to formalize this settlement model and provide supporting infrastructure. The solution could be to pair AI and automation systems into robotics.

Some large cities have already used this technology to introduce automation, calling them “robot cities.” Tokyo, Singapore, and Dubai are just a few examples.

With the introduction of robotics, let’s analyze how these cities create an enabling environment using robotic solutions.

1. Using robotics generally

Source: Nikkei Asian Review

The preparation to host the 2020 Tokyo Olympics, the government has collaborated with the Robot Revolution Council to use modern robotics for general applications. The city has introduced a variety of robotic solutions, including taxis and public transportation, smart wheelchairs, and customer service bots.

Tokyo shows the world what the future city will be like. The state-controlled environment uses robotics, AI, and practical solutions in urban areas. The aim is to make life smarter and more comfortable, not only for citizens but also for visitors. For example, after-sales service robots will receive local and foreign visitors speaking in more than 20 different languages.

The most significant advantage is how robots are used to plan, organize, and automate life experiences within city limits. Entire blocks or subdivisions of the urban environment can be designed to serve those who are developing within their borders.

2. Researching to improve BIM software

Source: IISD

Purdue University researchers have developed a system for interpreting and analyzing the most critical courses in the industry, also known as IFC. This term refers to data created using Construction Information Modeling (BIM) software.

The new method increases the interpretation process by injecting intelligent and automatic elements. Most IFC data is very complicated because it is not only detailed but also contains a large number of units. Purdue University’s technology helps software developers better understand the data sets they use. Furthermore, IFC solutions are created for almost all tasks during the life cycle of an architectural, engineering, or construction project.

The result is a new way to create modern MEA designs, including those that introduce more sustainable infrastructure.

3. Smart management and control

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Singapore is also experimenting with robotics and expanding various aspects of the city. All robot systems in Singapore are designed to modernize and improve management and control of various functions. These robots are designed to interact as a part of the existing Smart Urban environment. Examples include offline delivery robots, driverless buses, and government-subsidized service robots that act as servants.

Smarter management and control means that cities can respond better to residents and visitors. Imagine a self-supporting public transport fleet that can accommodate a growing population or a large group of visitors. The whole building can use an intelligent control system to produce light only in the area used.

Automatic demand-based transportation and an automated traffic management system help to reduce congestion and minimize environmental pollution, while uncrewed aerial vehicles and drones can use urban airspace to deliver goods efficiently.

4. Security and surveillance

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Dubai, currently one of the most popular cities in the world is another example of intelligent control. Dubai is characterized by the use of technology to improve police and surveillance. The government recently announced plans to rob up to 25% of the police by 2030. The humanoid police Pal Robotics and an innovative vehicle called OUTSAW will do that. This automated system will monitor city boundaries and help protect roads and residents.

5. Increase resource-poor people

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In many cities, there are many poor or disadvantaged areas where residents and events are usually unknown. Intelligent technology can adequately support these disadvantaged and poor people. Increased efficiency means that more resources must be available to be included in this community.

There are also new ways to strengthen falling conditions. Old and dry roads can be repaired and restored with the help of robot stations. Old buildings can be improved, rebuilt, or even rebuilt using similar technology and 3D printing.

Solutions can also be used to treat people. Imagine an AI algorithm that takes into account all the food that is lost in a restaurant or thrown away. Hundreds of pounds of free or cheap food can be distributed at food banks or local community centers. Others might be able to differentiate and highlight job opportunities for those who need work.

6. Intelligent development in general

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One of the main problems in modern cities is how to best use nature or how to rearrange old homes and buildings. Space is limited to places like New York, Tokyo, Shanghai, and Istanbul, all filled with people and buildings.

When designing, developing, or redesigning space, it’s good to know not only what is in high demand, but also what can be more beneficial to the city. Maybe an area needs more low-income housing. What if a small business center boosts the local economy? There may be destroyed or abandoned structures that can be better utilized.

AI and urban solutions can help overcome this situation by helping to choose the facilities to make the best use of them. A company called Spacemaker has developed simulation software that allows urban architects and planners to use AI to make faster planning and development decisions.

The same technology is used to design and create structures using 3D printing and cost-effective solutions.

To sum up

Source: AdobeStock

Proper city management enables the smooth flow of things, data, and people. This includes public services, transportation, and shipping services.

The long queues at hospitals and banks show management errors because it needs an automated system. The traffic burden shows that the road and the traffic system are insufficient. The goods we order more and more online are not fast enough. And Wi-Fi often fails because of our digital needs all the time. In short, city life, marked by pollution, rapid growth, traffic jams, connectivity, and increased consumption, demands, or at least leads us to invest in robotic solutions.

Robotics will have a significant impact on social life in the next decades. As you can see with this Rozum coffee robot barista are already a part of our daily lives and are used in education, HoReCa, healthcare, industry, logistics, and more.

About Martina Starnes

Martina Starnes