Quadcopters — Innovative Use of Artificial Intelligence and Drones for Making Singapore a Smart City

6 min readJul 29, 2022

Cities host more than half of the world’s inhabitants while occupying just 2% of the planet’s land mass. According to the United Nations, the global urbanization rate will rise from 54% to 66% by 2050. Singapore is rapidly urbanizing, and its emphasis on cities as a source of growth is expected to expand over the next decade. As more people swarm to the city’s brilliant lights, the strain on critical public services will grow. Governments must make cities safer, more sustainable, and more efficient. However, the development of smart cities must be motivated by the well-being of the people who live there and supported by cutting-edge technologies.

Smart Cities Promote the Smarter Kingdom

Singapore maintains its position as one of the top “smart cities” in the world because of Artificial Intelligence and environmentally-friendly innovation. The notion of smart cities examines the quality of life more widely across multiple domains, such as health, the environment, safety, government, and education, although progress is mostly driven by technology. Singapore’s aim to create a “smart nation” has been ambitious, luring firms searching for test-bedding possibilities in an operational and supportive environment. When wandering through Singapore’s streets, one’s natural reaction is to look up and expect to find these diligent employees going about their everyday jobs!

These silent workers who keep Singapore functioning smoothly are the heroes of Singapore.

Of course, we’re talking about drones.

Drones are a crucial aspect of Singapore as a smart city initiative. Many people think of privacy invasions, foreign assaults, or a costly pastime when they hear the word “drone.”

The administration of urban infrastructure, agribusiness, public safety, and humanitarian aid are among the sectors where the Singaporean government believes drones have the potential to make a revolutionary impact.

Application of Artificial Intelligence in Drones

Thanks to computers, information processing has been substantially scaled and mechanized. However, AI solutions took computers to a new level and enabled reasoning — more particularly, problem-solving and parameter optimization — to be considerably automated. These two activities enable bots to acquire new skills.

Public safety (>20%), agriculture (10–20%), energy/oil/gas (10–20%), and delivery/e-commerce (10%) are just a few of the areas where drones will be deployed. The use of AI, which is capable of the following, is the obvious response to this:

  • safer or self-piloted flying
  • data collecting and real-time visualization
  • superior accuracy vs human-only oversight
  • significant cost reduction

AI is used in the most successful and practical drone applications today for image recognition and image synthesis. While this may fall short of fulfilling AI’s promise, it is having a substantial impact on the automation and scalability of a wide range of applications at a lower cost.

Civil engineers utilize drones to continuously scan massive structures like bridges, dams, and oil rigs for structural defects before they cause major issues. Of course, the military has used drones to gather field intelligence for decades. Drone photography is becoming so prevalent that it will be impossible to find a domain that has not been impacted.

The Power of Artificial Intelligence Drones

Singapore sees drones as valuable instruments that will help it get nearer to being the first Smart Nation in the world. Singapore is a city where technology has a big and positive influence on people’s lives.

Drones are already being used to efficiently capture high-resolution aerial photographs of building surfaces and roof structures for safety inspections.

Singapore is putting a lot of effort into becoming the first Smart Nation in the world, which will increase both business opportunities and the personal quality of life. A “smart nation” will have a government that works better for the people and uses technology to enhance public services, allowing citizens to actively engage in political and business decisions and make more significant choices daily.

A drone equipped with FHD video, for example, can take photos with a resolution of 1920 x 1080 pixels (about 2 million). Using pictures, an eighth of the FHD resolution delivers 240135 (or 32,400 pixels), which still creates identifiable images and results in a 64-fold savings in power required for image capture, storage, and transmission, as well as necessary bandwidth. Application of artificial intelligence in drones employ only 6432 pictures, resulting in 1024-fold savings.

Advances in processor and battery technologies, as well as increasing broadband availability, will render these support services obsolete in many applications. However, the continual downsizing and extension of drones into new fields of application with hostile surroundings will constantly necessitate the inclusion of additional support functions.

Let’s explore a few of the heroic deeds performed by the “quiet” heroes.

Artificial Intelligence Drones to Inspect Buildings

It is not easy to keep the structures of newly constructed buildings safe.

Regular visual inspections of state assets are required by Singapore Land Authority (SLA) staff to spot structural issues and schedule follow-up work. This is a labor-intensive activity that might become hazardous if cops have to evaluate difficult-to-reach regions.

Therefore, utilizing aerial drones is intelligent enough to look for these flaws, rather than sending workers up onto building rooftops to inspect for cracks.

The results are rather impressive — drones can save up to 80% of the time and only cost 60% of what a traditional examination would.

Employing Robot Police

Even though Singapore has some of the lowest crime rates in the world, the incorporation of technology into police operations makes crime even more difficult for offenders.

The Singapore Police Force began utilizing specialized drones for aerial searches last year. The maximum height of a quadcopter is 60 meters. They have loud sirens and a searchlight that is 10 times more effective than a car’s headlights, thanks to engineers.

Additionally, quadcopters are increasingly used to monitor the ground during important public events. They may navigate on their own using predetermined routes. The use of cameras in bots creates opportunities for remote surveillance.

What is in the future?

It’s amazing how rapidly technology develops. Only a few of us could have predicted the usefulness drones have today only ten years ago. The future will be similarly perplexing for us in light of this.

Deep learning, which is at the core of many of the most significant applications of artificial intelligence in drones, derives its strength from neural networks, which are composed of hundreds or thousands of very simple mathematical operations that work together in a systematic manner to adapt their parameters as they gain experience.

Since these neural networks are built in layers, each layer feeds a condensed version of their inputs to the next layer, enabling the network to delve deeper and deeper into the elements that matter — hence the name “deep learning” — the network may learn more about these features.

BJIT further explains that the nodes of a neural network are analogous to drones but considerably more advanced. Small, straightforward drones may now be created at an extremely low-cost thanks to modern technologies. Thousands of less complex drones can work together as a system rather than a small number of strong drones with single points of failure. Drone systems are far more efficient than individual drones. On a battlefield, a few drones can be shot down; but a cloud of drones is considerably more difficult to repel.

The next step can only be enabled by the operationalization of drones as a multifunctional drone system. Thankfully, there is strong precedence that indicates a strong chance of success. Data centers will soon be a thing of the past thanks to Amazon Web Services (AWS). The bulk application of artificial intelligence in drones was previously constrained to a small number of powerful processors before AWS. Now, AI is easily accessible for a startlingly small fraction of the cost and has almost limitless potential.

Today, BJIT and several other companies are assiduously working on the operationalization of artificial intelligence and drones. They urgently require the large-scale usage of drones in logistics for package delivery. Singapore is dealing with issues like air traffic control, as well as technological and legal difficulties. BJIT possesses the skills, equipment, and, most crucially, the creativity needed to create the infrastructure that enables drones to function as a system.




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