NVIDIA has found two new partners for its Metropolis AI smart city platform; mobile and networking player Huawei, and international e-commerce giant Alibaba. The company announced the two new partners, who will play as-yet unspecified roles in the development and deployment of Metropolis AI, at this year’s GTC tech conference in Beijing. Presumably, the two companies would be providing funding for the project at the very least, and likely also playing an active role that plays to their strengths, such as having Huawei work on networking within smart cities, and having Alibaba source parts and other goods needed to put it all together.
NVIDIA’s new smart city platform is slated to be ready to roll in a few target cities worldwide by the end of 2020, with some billion odd specially made cameras deployed. The system is powered by NVIDIA GPUs and special AI software, and seeks to automate and enhance city-running processes normally handled by hand or automated by processes like timers and sensors. Things like reworking traffic flow to ease congestion, monitoring for crime, finding lost individuals, and administering city services are all on the menu. The GPUs not only handle quick processing applications and split-second decisions within the bounds of city management, but link together to form a neural network that allows for powerful machine learning applications.
While the Metropolis system itself is front and center, NVIDIA has opened up the project for outside firms to build other applications on top of it, and was showing some of those at the conference. One such third party application came from Hikvision Research Institute out of China, and used Metropolis AI with third party hardware from Tesla and others to utilize the Metropolis core for face-matching. That system is currently still in development, but is already able to reach success rates as high as 90% in testing, though the sample size is obviously nowhere near what the system would be facing down if deployed in an actual city alongside the main Metropolis AI system. The possibilities of this sort of technology are theoretically quite vast, and the new partnerships with Huawei and Alibaba will serve to expand them.