Photo credit: Staatliche Schlösser und Gärten Baden-Württemberg

A Smart City Also Has to Be a Social City

Mannheim researchers receive one million euros funding from the Volkswagen Foundation to research the impact of smart cities on social inequality. They use real-life cases to analyze the impact of artificial intelligence on urban life in the Rhine-Neckar metropolitan area.

The Volkswagen Foundation has launched the funding initiative “Artificial Intelligence and the Society of the Future” and accepted eight interdisciplinary projects. One of these projects is led by researchers of the University of Mannheim in cooperation with the Hochschule für Medien in Stuttgart and the Ludwigs-Maximimilians-Universität München (LMU). The project will run for four years and will receive a total funding amount of 1.5 million euros. The University of Mannheim will receive approximately 1 million euros.

The interdisciplinary project is headed by Prof. Heiner Stuckenschmidt, holder of the Chair of Artificial Intelligence (AI), together with the sociologist and co-director of the Mannheim Center for Data Science, Prof. Frauke Kreuter, who will hold the chair of statistics and data science at LMU starting 1 April. Together, they analyze the chances and risks of using intelligent systems for traffic planning in the Rhine-Neckar metropolitan region. For Hochschule der Medien, Prof. Kai Eckert is leading the project.

In cooperation with partners in the Rhine-Neckar metropolitan area, the project analyzes two real-life cases: First, the researchers will look at using Internet-of-things sensors for traffic control, for example for optimizing the use of parking space. Second, the researchers will look at the impact of AI systems on socio-economic inequality in a city. One example is the dynamic pricing of parking space in the city to make better use of the capacity and to mobilize more people to refrain from using the car in the city.

Links:

Website of the project: https://sites.google.com/umd.edu/caius/home

Press release issued by the Volkswagen Foundation (in German): https://www.volkswagenstiftung.de/aktuelles-presse/presse/künstliche-intelligenz-und-ihr-einfluss-auf-die-gesellschaft-von-morgen-12-mio-euro-förderung

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