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Six European Cities will look for Artificial Intelligence solutions to move towards carbon neutrality

15 January 2020

Procura+ Participants Helsinki (Finland), Copenhagen (Denmark), Stavanger (Norway) as well as Paris Region (France), Amsterdam (Netherlands), and Tallinn (Estonia) have joined forces in AI4Cities, a new EU-funded project that will challenge companies to develop artificial intelligence (AI) solutions on the fields of energy and mobility. These solutions are aimed at reducing the cities’ greenhouse gas emissions and support them in meeting their climate change commitments.

Through AI4Cities (January 2020 to December 2022), these cities and regions, guided by ICLEI's procurement team, will go through a Pre-Commercial Procurement (PCP) process, an innovation procurement tool that enables the public sector to steer the development of new solutions directly towards its needs. First, the buying authorities will define the needs and requirements of those solutions on the energy and the mobility fields they would like to see developed in order to move towards carbon neutrality. Then, they will challenge startups, SMEs, bigger companies and other relevant stakeholders to design innovative solutions applying the use of AI and related enabling technologies, such as 5G, Internet of Things (IoT), cloud computing and big data applications.

AI4Cities is divided into five main phases. During the preparation phase (Phase 0), the procuring cities will organise a series of activities – roundtables, workshops, and matchmaking events, amongst others – aimed at ensuring the open market consultation is an ambitious co-creation exercise. The PCP process will consist of a solution design phase (Phase 1), a prototype phase (Phase 2) and a prototype testing phase (Phase 3). AI4Cities will reach the supply side to select and fund a minimum of 40 contractors (20 for the energy challenge and 20 for the mobility challenge) who, during Phase 1, will present their reports with a concept design, results of their feasibility studies and conclusions. Then, a minimum of 20 contractors (ten for each of the two challenges) will be invited to develop their prototypes in Phase 2. Finally, a minimum of six contractors (three and three) will make it into Phase 3 where a series of larger scale pilots will be undertaken. To maximise the potential impact of the project, a group of cities will be recruited to follow the PCP process and support the uptake of the outcomes. The final stage (Phase 4) will focus on the implementation of the tested solutions.