The design of smart roads is now “on track” in Italy. Proof of it is the fact that, in June 2018, the Italian Ministry of Infrastructures and Transport (MIT) set up the Technical Observatory to support Smart Roads, connected vehicles and automatic driving. It is an ad hoc Observatory whose main scope of work is the coordination on a national level of local initiatives by universities and companies to start new experiments.
In fact, even in the mobility & transportation sector, this win-win paradigm, which sees the world of research and the world of industry working in close collaboration for a common mission, has been used for a long time. In the context of smart roads, the shared mission is the realization of projects in which innovation is an important tool to ensure greater safety of the citizens. In particular, the smart road project has two ambitious goals: halving the number of road victims in Italy by 2020 and making sure there are none of them anymore by 2050.
This initiative is part of a broader scenario characterized by a strong evolutionary drive at the European level on the topic of networking, whose background is the innovative strategic vision of the “5G motorways” EU project for connected and automated mobility.
In short, self-driving cars, to be able to actually move on the road, need, along with the sensors on board the vehicle, an ultra-broadband, Wi-Fi enabled and 5G infrastructure with widespread coverage throughout the country.
As such, what’s important is to guarantee a technological adaptation in the direction of a self-awareness, that is to say, the ability of the road to know and recognize itself, meaning both its static and strongly dynamic characteristics (such as the loads on it, the operating or climatic conditions).