The Singaporean government has made significant efforts to transform the country into a digital-first society. However, fully realising the country’s Smart Nation vision will require collaboration and co-creation among public and private organisations and citizens because no single entity can develop all smart city services.
Huawei is helping to foster the co-creation of solutions to enable an inclusive and sustainable Singapore through its Tech4City competition. This year’s edition challenges youths to develop tech-enabled solutions in well-being, learning, energy, mobility and finance.
“As the challenges we face are increasingly complex, sustainable solutions must be co-owned by all parts of society — from the people, private, and public sectors and stakeholders. I greatly appreciate Huawei’s contribution towards supporting and developing our youths to make a positive change to our society,” says Low Yen Ling, Minister of State for Culture, Community and Youth and Minister of State for Trade and Industry, at the Tech4City 2023 finals.
Making traffic lights more inclusive
Team Mobility from the Institute of Technical Education took home the grand prize of $15,000 at the Tech4City 2023 finals held on September 13 at the Suntec Singapore Convention and Exhibition Centre. Their Mobility Traffic Crossing System uses AI to enhance the city-state's traffic lights, ensuring inclusivity and safety for those with mobility challenges, while preserving traffic flow integrity.
By utilising Huawei Cloud and its ModelArts AI development platform, the team trained the Mobility Traffic Crossing System to detect common mobility aids used by older adults and persons with disabilities, such as walking sticks and wheelchairs, in real time. Extensive tests showed that the AI-powered solution could detect wheelchairs from test images with 83% accuracy and has a mean average precision of 84.9% from walking aids.
Team Mobility received an additional cash prize of $3,000 from SBS Transit as their project was also named the best innovation in the mobility category. Additionally, the team is enrolled into Huawei’s flagship CSR programme, “Seeds for the Future”. They will join the Huawei Asia Pacific Seeds tour, which includes visiting the company’s Shenzhen headquarters and participating in Huawei’s Talent Summit in Shanghai.
Calvin Chu, partner at Eden Strategy Institute LLP and one of the judges of Tech4City 2023, was impressed by Team Mobility as they displayed the challenger spirit. “There are already existing features at certain traffic lights to cater to the elderly and people with special needs. Team Mobility’s project showed that the team does not accept the status quo and believes they can improve using technology. They’ve prototyped the solution, and it’s commendable that they’ve also thought about the feasibility of implementing it in the real-world setting and the possible ways to commercialise it,” he says.
Preparing youths to be digitally-savvy
According to Team Mobility, the Tech4City competition gave them valuable hands-on experience to deepen their understanding of enterprise technologies, especially AI. Participants also learned how those technologies can be applied to solve real-world issues through the dialogue sessions Huawei hosted from April to June this year. The sessions saw industry experts, academia, and professionals discuss key issues and share insights on the competition’s five themes. Such efforts can help plug the tech skills gap, which is still a major issue as reports reveal that demand for talent with IT skills is still outpacing supply in Singapore and globally.
“Youths today are passionate to learn about technology and innovate with it. Tech4City allows them to learn from industry experts, co-create solutions for real-world issues with their peers, and get mentored so they can confidently bring their ideas to the market. Those solutions can help to realise a more liveable, sustainable and inclusive Singapore,” says Edison Xie, vice president of the Public Affairs and Communications Department and president of International Media Affairs at Huawei Technologies.
Tech4City 2023 attracted more than 370 participants, who formed 144 teams that submitted 89 proposals. The proposals were assessed based on the depth of research, innovativeness and feasibility, social value, use of technology, and logical implementation of each idea.
The Tech4City 2023 competition is partially supported by Singapore’s Digital for Life Fund, which funds ground-up projects that help enrich Singaporeans’ lives by improving digital access, literacy and wellness.