Building connections - How Fetch.ai is enabling smart cities

Jan 7, 2020

Fetch.ai is at the forefront of the Artificial Intelligence revolution. Based in Cambridge, a city famed for its university and the birthplace of numerous inventions, the Fetch.ai team is working on making the cities of tomorrow even smarter.

Smart cities will see billions of devices find and communicate with each other to make the best decision for users. This will revolutionize the way we consume energy, water and dispose of waste, how we move around within cities, as well as making them safer places to live in.

Take parking your car, for example. In a smart city, rather than driving into a parking lot hoping to find a space, an autonomous agent within your car will search and communicate with parking agents to find the nearest available space to your destination and book it for you, before directing you to it. When you come back to your car and drive off, your car agent checks out of the parking lot, calculates the payment and makes it for you, removing the hassle of parking tickets.

This simple act of finding a parking space not only ensures you make your appointment on time, it will also transform congestion within cities. Last year in the US, $87 billion was lost to the economy due to traffic jams, with 30% of cars in the most congested cities looking for parking spaces.

While on the topic of cars, the next generation of cars are all going to be electric. In order to have sufficient supply to meet this surge in demand for electricity, there will need to be significant changes to the existing infrastructure. Fetch.ai’s intelligent ecosystem will allow the agent within your car can seek out the nearest charging station, book your space and direct you there, saving the hassle of having to wait your turn at a filling station. As the switch to EVs gains pace, more and more users will be seeking out places to recharge and smart optimization technology will ensure that increased demand is met by the nearest available supply. In addition, the ecosystem will allow you to choose not only an available charging point, but direct you to one that has say a coffee shop or a playground nearby, making your stop more enjoyable and productive while you recharge your car.

Another way in which this smart technology will have a positive impact is within energy consumption. Autonomous agents can communicate with energy suppliers to negotiate prices and take excess supply from neighbouring areas to cover surges in demand. On top of that, renewable energy sources can be used to target peak demand periods, thereby reducing overall electrical demand, as well as increasing the share of renewable energy used to meet it.

All of the above examples involve microtransactions and a crucial element of Fetch.ai’s technology is that all of these payments and transactions are carried out and recorded using blockchain. This decentralizes the process, meaning that the information and data isn’t owned by one company, as is currently the case with the majority of our data owned by one of the tech giants such as Google, Facebook, Amazon and Uber.

At the moment, when you are looking for information, you search for it on Google. If you want to purchase something, you search for it on Amazon. If you want to find a destination, you look at Google Maps. All of this information is stored in the centralized systems of these tech giants, who keep all this information about you (and sell it to the advertisers and other third parties). They know where you live, what you buy, where you go on holiday, even what you do in your free time. This of course raises privacy concerns. In a decentralized system, no one company holds all the data with users themselves having control over their own information and only sharing the relevant parts as and when they need to perform specific tasks and transactions.

Fetch.ai’s decentralized blockchain removes the potential monopoly on individual’s data while smart technology ensures we make the best decisions both at home and in our cars. In short, the only headaches in the smart cities of tomorrow will be the self-inflicted ones!