MDEC, DBKL and Alibaba team up on M’sia City Brain

This is the 1st time for the city brain solution to be adopted overseas, modelled after Hangzhou’s success


Malaysia Digital Economy Corp (MDEC) and Kuala Lumpur City Hall (DBKL) will collaborate with the cloud computing arm of Alibaba Group Holding Ltd to introduce a smart traffic management system using the artificial intelligence (AI) platform.

The initiative called “Malaysia City Brain” is an open platform, the first time for the city brain solution to be adopted overseas, modelled after the success of Hangzhou’s “City Brain” in China that was implemented in September 2016.

The technology, powered by Alibaba Cloud’s large-scale computing engine Apsara, offers urban planners and city officials the tools to upgrade city governance by improving real-time traffic management and prediction, providing better city services.

“The introduction of Malaysia City Brain is just the beginning. MDEC will continue to work on selected high-profile AI initiatives and simultaneously develop the National AI Framework,” MDEC CEO Datuk Yasmin Mahmood said during a press conference in Kuala Lumpur yesterday.

The first phase of the city brain programme will be integrated with current Integrated Transport Information System for traffic management enhancement by May this year.

The AI platform gathers traffic data in real-time including analysis of traffic conditions, volumes, lane speeds, optimisation of traffic signals by calculating the time to reach intersections, and detection of traffic accidents from 382 camera feeds and 281 traffic light junctions within the city centre.

The Hangzhou City Brain was reported to have helped increase the city’s traffic efficiency by 15% and achieved an average per vehicle savings of three minutes on traffic.

It brought Hangzhou from being the fourth-most congested cities in China to the 11th spot.

Additionally, Alibaba Cloud extended the smart city solution partnership with a big data crowd intelligence platform called the “Malaysia Tianchi Big Data Programme”.

The pilot project is poised to catalyse Malaysia’s AI ecosystem beyond the traffic management system as the programme aims to incubate 500 data professionals and 300 start-ups in Malaysia within two years.

The Malaysia Tianchi Big Data Programme will be integrated into Alibaba Cloud’s Tianchi global community, which currently has over 120,000 developers and 2,700 academic institutions and businesses from 77 countries.

Local big data talents nurtured from this programme are expected to become well exposed and expert on the smart city solution, and expected to expand the utilisation of the Malaysia City Brain vertically to other areas such as smart manufacturing, smart education and smart environment protection.

As the city brain’s functionality expands, enterprises, startups, entrepreneurs, universities and research institutes also have the opportunity to access and leverage its AI tools to drive a wide range of innovation.

Among the dignitaries present during the ceremony yesterday were Federal Territories Minister Datuk Seri Tengku Adnan Tengku Mansor and Alibaba Group senior VP and Alibaba Cloud president Simon Hu.