The project focuses on the energy consumption of buildings and on transport emissions. Pictured is the Saukonlaituri waterfront of Jätkäsaari, a Helsinki district under construction.

Cuts to carbon emissions sought with artificial intelligence

Six European cities – Helsinki, Amsterdam, Copenhagen, Paris, Stavanger and Tallinn – join forces in a new project named AI4Cities. The project challenges enterprises, researchers and others to develop solutions utilizing artificial intelligence (AI) to generate cuts to carbon dioxide emissions. Helsinki emphasizes the utilization of data and AI in its digitalization programme to achieve the city’s climate goals. 

The participating cities’ respective programmes to cut carbon dioxide emissions emphasize emissions from transport and housing. Consequently, the AI4Cities project focuses on emissions generated from transport and traffic as well as the energy consumption of buildings. 

“The City of Helsinki digitalization programme lays a major emphasis on the utilization of data and AI. By utilizing data and AI, we can optimize and reduce building energy consumption and steer transport and traffic flows,” says Mikko Rusama, Chief Digital Officer for the City of Helsinki. 

The cities participating in the AI4Cities project have committed themselves to becoming carbon neutral: Copenhagen seeks to reach carbon neutrality by 2025, Helsinki by 2035, Stavanger by 2040, and both Paris and Tallinn by 2050. Amsterdam seeks a 95-percent cut in carbon emissions by 2050. 

4.6 million euros for Pre-Commercial Procurement 

Cities apply the process of Pre-Commercial Procurement to steer the achievement of their climate goals. Pre-Commercial Procurement (PCP) is the procurement of research and development of new innovative solutions before they are commercially available. The key idea of the procedure is that cities first define their needs and requirements for solutions utilizing AI in their procurement processes. In the AI4Cities project, cities apply Pre-Commercial Procurement to effect carbon emission cuts in transport and energy consumption. 

To develop solutions, cities first issue a request for tenders to enterprises and other potential sources that can supply solutions before they are commercialized. In addition to AI, the solutions can utilize other technologies and methods, including 5G, the Internet of Things (IoT), big data and open data. 

The project allocates a total of 4.6 million euros to Pre-Commercial Procurement of the participating cities. 

The project will proceed as follows during 2020: The cities will first prepare their challenges and conduct a market dialogue before public procurement. A market dialogue is a procedure conducted by the client, suppliers and end users before the procurement process.  An international request for tenders for solutions related to energy use and transport will be issued at the end of 2020. 

Read more:

AI4Cities project – artificial intelligence helping cities to reach carbon neutrality / Forum Virium 

Photo: Antti Pulkkinen