What's new?

Italy: autonomous driving and Anas’ smart road A conversation with Alberto Broggi, General Manager of VisLab

Illustrations © Author

Obviously, with technical and scientific spirit, in the international tables of the World Road Association (PIARC) in which we participate, experts in automated driving and smart roads have also evaluated the zero option. They have asked themselves whether the benefits of the automated vehicle and smart roads are greater or less than the costs. They also asked whether we could do without them. Whether it is really worth it. And the main reason they were persuaded to say yes wasn’t due to the driving comfort. It wasn’t the chance to work quietly in the vehicle. It was the dramatic data on road safety: 1,200,000 dead, including 260,000 children and 59 million injured in the last year alone worldwide. 25 thousand victims in Europe, about 3,300 in Italy. Accidents that the automated vehicle could really eliminate. In fact, 94% of these accidents were caused by the human factor: distraction, use of mobile phones at the wheel, excessive speed. For this reason, European directives have made ADAS, Automatic Driver Assistance Systems mandatory, such as: automatic emergency braking, alcohol level control, automatic lane maintenance control, automatic ignition of the 4 arrows in case of sudden braking. The belief is that eliminating the human factor that causes accidents, assisted driving and then autonomous driving can lead to a future with zero fatalities. Of course, when only automated vehicles will be circulating. That’s why in all the technologically advanced world autonomous driving tests are underway. That’s why all the most advanced countries are implementing projects to digitize roads, transforming them into smart roads, thus providing the autonomous vehicle and the user with as much information as possible and the best environment in which to travel. That’s why technical experts from all over the world involved in the World Road Association (PIARC), are intensively exchanging technical knowledge on autonomous driving tests and smart roads implementation. Italy is also working in this direction and foresees by 2025, through provisions by the Ministry of Infrastructure and Transport, the progressive digitalization of the main roads (those belonging to the European network). And in this context ANAS, the Italian Authority for national roads, is operating with an ambitious project to transform 3.000km of its network into Smart Roads.