Kathy Gibson at Huawei Connect in Shanghai – Shenzhen, one of the four largest and wealthiest cities in China, was a modest village of just 30 000 people in 1979.

Today it is the manufacturing hub for the world’s technology industry, with a population of about 20-million.

Among the many infrastructure challenges this rapid growth brings is traffic congestion – and this is difficult to overcome with new infrastructure.

“Traffic is the lifeblood of a city. It also shows how well managed and civilised a city is, says Li Qiang, technology division chief at the Shenzhen Public Security Bureau.

“Shenzhen has grown quickly, which means it is a victim of traffic congestion and parking challenges,” he says.

With 3,3-million vehicles resulting in a traffic density of 510 vehicles per kilometre, Shenzhen racks up $44-billion a year in congestion-related costs.

Shenzhen Traffic Police and Huawei today launched the Shenzhen Traffic Brain project based on the department’s own open computing platform and Huawei’s Cloud EI.

The project uses a very fast optical network that increases efficiencies by up to 40-times. This is vital in view of the fact that 700-million entries per month are captured in the urban traffic systems. Now, EI-assisted law enforcement processes up to 10-million images per day, resulting in efficiency improvements of up to 10-times, and an 8% better experience for citizens.

Next on the agenda is a plan to integrate traffic lights into the system, which is expected to give the city an 80% improvement in traffic flow.

Future plans will seem the implementation of a 5G connected cars network that will offer high reliability and low latency, allowing for intelligence and driverless car management.

Intelligent traffic co-ordination will be enabled with adaptive checkpoints, and AI will also be used to provide deep reinforcement learning in transportation.