What does a smart city of the future look like?
IPSI, the industrial research school at the University of Skövde, had the pleasure of hosting Professor Enrique Alba of the University of Málaga. For half a day, Professor Alba spoke about the importance of developing new, smart systems that are focus on both the individual and the city.
Professor Alba has a background in computer science and engineering. He leads an international research team in complex optimization / learning that has applications in smart cities, bioinformatics, software, telecommunications, etc.
It was when IPSI PhD student, Enrique Ruiz Zúñiga applied (and later granted) for a mobility scholarship with the University of Málaga that the contact with Professor Alba was initiated. Professor Alba will be Enrique Ruiz Zúñiga's mentor in the research field of simulations and optimizations for production systems.
What is a smart city?
A smart city is a city that utilizes digitalization and new technology to make life easier for its citizens. Smart cities can be divided into six categories: smart economy, smart humans, smart control, smart mobility, smart environment, and smart living.
- We need to develop applications that take the entire city into consideration and connect multiple parts. In addition, the visualization must be accessible in an everyday setting, such as an app in your smart phone, says Professor Alba
Introducing alternative systems for road networks
Europe's citizens and businesses rely on infrastructure that can offer seamless solutions for door to door operations. At the same time, the environmental impact from the transport sector must be reduced. Aligning the two goals looks like a very difficult challenge, but Enrique introduced several new systems in his presentation.
- When you turn to Google for guidance, you are presented with the fastest route, and not necessarily the best option regarding travel time, CO2 emission, etc. This traditional style of giving directions is actually creating traffic jams and increased CO2 emission, says Professor Alba. He continues to say that when you present drivers with a tailored route, tests have shown that it would be possible to reduce travel times by 17.5% in the city of Stockholm.
It is not difficult, as the information already exists, and can be generated by connecting data from multiple areas. It would reduce the load on today's already hard-pressed roads, while the individual would get a tailored route, based on multiple parameters, such as traffic lights, estimated CO2 emission, congestion areas, etc.
Design your own smart living
Furthermore, Professor Alba continued to talk about potential applications of intelligent systems for energy, such as adaptive street lights, environment applications like mobile sensors that measure air pollution, and smart buildings with a so-called intelligent design and applications for smart living, tourism, and smart city control.
- We already have the information for optimizing your electricity consumption. Your house already produces large amounts of data, and by analysing your electricity history you would get an algorithm that shows you how you could optimize your consumption and create a smart home. Connect with your neighbours and create a smart housing area together, says Professor Alba.
The last part of the seminar was very productive in the area of a potential collaboration between the University of Málaga andthe University of Skövde in the fields of simulation and optimization.