Here’s something interesting for KL motorists. Jack Ma’s Alibaba Group will set up a traffic control system harnessing artificial intelligence (AI) for Kuala Lumpur, its first “City Brain” service outside China, Reuters reports.

The cloud computing arm of Alibaba Group, Alibaba Cloud, said yesterday it plans to make live traffic predictions and recommendations to increase traffic efficiency in KL by crunching data gathered from video footage, traffic bureaus, public transportation systems and mapping apps.

Alibaba Cloud is will be partnering with Malaysia Digital Economy Corporation (MDEC) and DBKL to roll out the Malaysia City Brain technology, which would be localised and integrated with 500 inner city cameras by May this year.

This development comes after Alibaba founder Jack Ma and prime minister Datuk Seri Najib Tun Razak launched an “e-hub” facility last year, part of an initiative aimed at removing trade barriers for smaller firms and emerging nations. Alibaba Cloud, which set up a data centre in Malaysia last year, is considering a second facility to further develop a local ecosystem, its president Simon Hu said.

Hu declined to elaborate on the company’s total investments made and planned for in Malaysia, but said it was “no small amount” and that the investments would continue if there was demand for cloud computing tech.

“The initiative is driven by MDEC and Alibaba Cloud to avoid or significantly reduce congestion and to increase road safety and emergency services efficiency. A proof of concept project has already been conducted locally in August 2017 in collaboration with a number of data providers from the private sector and MDEC providing project management and data analytics together with Alibaba Cloud providing platform and subject matter expertise,” said Federal Territories minister Datuk Seri Tengku Adnan Tengku Mansor.

“As Malaysia City Brain develops, AI technology will help to benefit the rakyat. These will include better traffic flow, faster response times from emergency services and handling of road traffic incidents and safety,” he added.

According to statistics from Alibaba Cloud, the traffic management system in the Chinese city of Hangzhou had resulted in reports of traffic violations with up to 92% accuracy, emergency vehicles reaching their destinations in half the time and overall increase in traffic speed by 15%. The City Brain system was launched there in September 2016.