Deputy Chief of «Smart St. Petersburg» project office Anatoliy Kotov holds a working document in his hands. It’s a list of priority sectors for using the “Smart City” technologies. And the one that is particularly underlined is SAFETY.
There’s plenty of smart city elements in St. Petersburg. Thousands of CCTV cameras, city traffic control systems, online access to state services. The only thing left to do is to put all those elements together.
Anatoly Kotov: «In this context we’re on our way to conclude a contract with leading companies about integration and creating a consortium, which would let us create a unified city database, a platform that would contain an infinite number of services».
Currently, there are about 500 cities in the world that have the smart city elements integrated in one way or another. Copenhagen, Singapore and Stockholm are the leaders. St. Petersburg is ranked 88th in the expert rating. For now.
It turns out a smart city is a body, while the information is its blood. Such model enables to choose the right way of development, as well as the right ways to evacuate people in case of an emergency. Big Data specialist Kseniya Mukhina shows us an example. It’s a traffic prediction program for Vasilievsky Island.
Kseniya Mukhina: «Look, these are multi-agent models, where every car is regarded as a separate object. This is based on a traffic data from «Yandex Probki» app, information about population density and also number of vehicles stats».
From every household’s energy consumption to every resident’s health condition. Everything will be taken into account and processed into a forecast. Such concept will be tested in Kronschtadt. So far, the most remarkable elements here are the eco-friendly buses. But, as the idea develops, one will be able to find another element - autonomous cars. In order to test such technological solutions, a mini testing range was created at the algorithm lab for mobile robots. Just as in the MIT. As the head of the lab, Kirill Krinkin, says - it’s impossible to imagine a smart city without the autonomous drones. But there are a lot of problems to be solved.
In July 2016 a car run by an autopilot was in a deadly accident in the US. A week ago an autonomous Uber taxi ran over a cyclist and killed her. So the debate whether a robot can handle human safety has been renewed. Nonetheless, urbanists agree on the fact that “being smart” for the city doesn’t mean being technologically developed, but psychologically developed.
A smart city is not only a city of innovations, but also a city where one wants to live. A city that is comfortable and, most importantly, safe. And St. Petersburg population, which is growing year by year, only confirms that rule. St. Petersburg has been smart since it was created. And technologies will only help it to become even smarter.