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Amsterdam and Accessibility: Here’s how AI startups are helping the city

As a society, we have entered into a brand new chapter – the Fourth Industrial revolution. In this era, Artificial Intelligence (AI) is being viewed as a technology that will fundamentally alter the way we live and work. 

So far, impressive progress has been made in AI in recent years, driven by significant increases in computing power and by the availability of extensive amounts of data, from self-driving cars and virtual assistants to the software that translates or invests.

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Besides, AI has the potential to revolutionise inclusion and accessibility as well. Realising the enormous possibilities, numerous startups globally are working on helping individuals with disabilities to get around and take part in the activities of daily living.

In this regard, earlier this year, Amsterdam became the first European city, followed by Mexico City and Seattle, to map the city’s accessibility using Artificial Intelligence (AI). 

Project Sidewalk

The Municipality of Amsterdam has started the ‘Project Sidewalk‘ pilot, an online platform where visitors can virtually walk through Amsterdam and indicate on a map where accessibility is good or could be improved. 

On the official website, people can point out where they see obstacles on sidewalks or crosswalks with or without a lowering of the curb on the street. 

This way, other users can see how accessible a shopping street or catering facility is for people with disabilities. The collected information is analysed by means of artificial intelligence, which can be then used by residents or visitors who want to plan their visit to the city and by policymakers to improve accessibility in neighbourhoods and districts.

The data received from users will be used to improve city planning, build accessibility-aware mapping tools, and train machine learning algorithms to automatically find accessibility issues.

Alderman Touria Meliani (Digital City) says, “With the Digital City Agenda and the AI ​​Agenda, Amsterdam is working on the development and deployment of technology that contributes to the city and the people who live in it. This pilot is a good example of this. We use the expertise and experiences of the users and use artificial intelligence to make the city more inclusive and accessible for everyone.”

According to the officials, the pilot will run until this summer. Post that, the information about the accessibility of the city will be made available on maps.

The pilot is part of the three-year Amsterdam for All project. This is one of the initiatives of Cities For All (C4All), in which the City of Amsterdam collaborates with, among others, World Enabled, the University of Washington, and other international partners on inclusive and accessible urban development. 

Besides, Amsterdam for All project, we have listed a few Amsterdam-based AI startups working in accessibility. Take a look.

Image credit: Amberscript


Amberscript is an Amsterdam-based startup that created a specialised AI-enabled speech-to-text engine to ease manual transcription. The company’s SaaS software enables users to automatically transcribe audio and video into text using speech recognition. 

The Dutch company’s platform is used by journalists, scientists, students, doctors, lawyers, and many others globally. The company deploys its AI algorithms and its web text editor for enhanced accuracy.

Image credits: Haltebuddy


Haltebuddy project is in line with the ambition of the Amsterdam for All project. The platform aims to make the city’s public transport more accessible for people with disabilities. 

The app personalises the accessibility information about public transport according to the user. The application asks the user if they travel by, for instance, an electric wheelchair, a manual wheelchair, walking sticks, or crutches. In addition, the user can enter the details about their mode of travel. 

After answering those questions, the user will be able to see what stops are accessible to them, keeping their situation and preferences in mind. 

Image credits: Spin AI


Spectrum Intelligence is an Amsterdam-based data annotation startup aiming to have a social and technological impact on the modern inclusive society and economy. 

The data annotation services include tagging images, videos, facial recognition, text annotation, audio annotation, and more complicated data requirements.

The company employs people from the Autistic Spectrum and uses their advanced skills of precision, patience, attention to detail, and repetitiveness to provide secure data and the cost/efficiency value to the data annotation market requirements. 

In addition to the data annotation services, the company also provides additional services like data acquisition and data scientists to analyse and offer Artificial Intelligence cases solutions. 

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