Nvidia picks up Alibaba and Huawei as partners for smart city platform

Nvidia’s Metropolis AI smart cities platform sounds like a story arc for DC’s superman comics, but it’s actually a GPU-based intelligent monitoring tool that can enable things like easing traffic congestion, allocating city services and even finding lost individuals. To that end, Metropolis has picked up two new partners in Alibaba and Huawei, and Nvidia’s also announcing that it’s including its DeepStream software development kit in the generally available version of Metropolis.

Metropolis uses video, and the over 1 billion connected cameras projected to be installed in cities around the world by the end of 2020 to run a variety of AI-enabled analysis applications, which can assist with everything from law enforcement to urban planning.

Nvidia is also showing off some applications of the tech at GTC in Beijing today, including a project from China’s Hikvision Research Institute that uses a combination of Jetson, Tesla P4 and DGX-1 to achieve 90 percent recall rates for its face ID and matching techniques.

There’s definitely an element of ‘Big Brother’ eerie omnipotent surveillance to this, but it’s also likely a key step in getting things like automated or at least semi-automated city-based transportation networks in place. Alibaba is using the tech to improve the city governance service capabilities of urban planners, for instance. But Huawei and others are definitely focused on law enforcement applications, which could strike some as more of a mixed bag.