The mobility of tomorrow: smart and connected. ASTM Group and Volkswagen Group Italia present the vehicle-infrastructure direct dialogue initiative
For the first time in Italy interconnection between series production car and motorway in open traffic conditions
What will the motorway of the future be like? Certainly sustainable, smart and connected, capable of dialoguing with transiting vehicles and the upcoming self-driving cars, to make us travel safer and exchange information in real time.
This is what was discussed today during the event organised in the PwC Tower by ASTM Group and Volkswagen Group Italia which, thanks to a Golf with integrated Car2X technology, tested “smart mobility” on the Arluno-Rho section of the A4 Torino-Milano motorway.
The digital transformation, which is evolving our roads and motorways towards a new connected and smart mobility, was at the centre of the of the debate between Paolo Guglielminetti, Partner PwC Italia Global Railways & Roads Leader, Massimo Nordio, Vice President Group Government Relations and Public Affairs of Volkswagen Group for Italy, Andrea Nicolini, CEO of SINELEC e Umberto Tosoni, CEO of the ASTM Group.
The new smart mobility project on the Arluno-Rho section of the A4 Torino-Milano stretch is based on the Emeras software platform developed by SINELEC, the technology company of ASTM Group. The platform ensures the integration with the on-road Intelligent Transportation Systems (ITS) and enables the real-time bi-directional interconnection between vehicles and infrastructures. Technologies are evolving from intelligent systems to “cooperative” systems where the cooperation between vehicles and infrastructure delivers better quality services (for safety, comfort, and reducing congestions), increases the level of supervision of the vehicle's surroundings and becomes a technological enabler for a future based on autonomous driving.
Motorway operators and drivers will have the possibility to exchange real-time information to enhance travels, reducing accidents, congestion and polluting emissions. Emeras collects and combines information on the existing scenario and, taking into account the risk factors, immediately activates the response plan by disseminating geo-located messages.
What allows the car to communicate directly with the infrastructure is the presence of the fully integrated Car2X technology, available on various Volkswagen Group models. A significant technological goal, that allows the car to be able to dialogue with the surrounding environment without an external onboard unit. The Car2X communication covers an 800-metre radius in a few milliseconds and exploits the swarm intelligence principle: this means that it will progressively improve as the number of vehicles that utilises it increases, thereby progressively maximising road safety.
“Cars are more and more a device on wheels and increasingly connected to each other, to the infrastructure and to the surrounding environment. Potential benefits in terms of safety, sustainability and user experience are evident as well as the crucial role of the software is” said Massimo Nordio, Vice President Group Government Relations and Public Affairs. “The Volkswagen Group's transformation path is heading in this direction, with major investments - €27 billion by 2025 -, the integration of specific skills - with CARIAD, the Group's software company - and the development of technological platforms, which will lead to the creation of a unified operating system. By 2030, up to 40 million of our vehicles will operate on the Volkswagen Group's software stack. But in order to speed up the creation of the connected mobility ecosystem and, in a next step, of the autonomous mobility ecosystem, teamwork between all the players involved is essential: car makers, technology companies, infrastructure operators, institutions and research centres” added Nordio.
PwC Italia's analysis of future scenarios shows how smart mobility solutions and autonomous driving will respond to drivers' new needs and the growing demand for sustainability: greater travel intensity, fewer systematic home-school/work trips, more intermodal travel, expansion of shared mobility and greater digitalisation.
PwC estimates that by 2025 100% of the cars in the European Union will be connected and in 2030 foresees in Europe 20 million self-driving cars of which 2.8 million just in Italy, assuming a similar trend to the rest of the continent. The development of smart mobility is primarily influenced by infrastructures, which will be transformed to interact with vehicles in real time, dynamically manage information from vehicles and traffic flows, and ensure safety for travellers.
During the event, ASTM Group announced its projects for the modernisation, technological innovation and ecological transition of the A4 Torino-Milano motorway. A first part of these works will be carried out by 2024 on the Milano-Novara pilot section, and then, upon authorisation by the MIMS, they will be extended to the whole motorway. By 2030, we will see, among other initiatives, the extension of vehicle-infrastructure communication systems (V2I), an increase in the sensor monitoring system for infrastructures, the introduction of smart gates with a "free flow" toll system, anti-fog systems, the use of 70% recycled asphalt for deep layers and graphene asphalt for the pavement, systems for detecting wrong-way drivers and for detecting dangerous goods, the introduction of hydrogen fuel stations and a greater presence of electric charging stations.
The CEO of ASTM, Umberto Tosoni, commented: “The technological innovation project of the A4 Torino-Milano presented today takes the motorway into a new dimension, making it one of the most modern and advanced in Europe. Investment in advanced technologies and ASTM's continuous commitment to finding sustainable, pioneering solutions are integrated in the Group's long-term strategy which aims for increasingly modern, safe, and sustainable motorways. We want to play a leading role in the digital transformation and ecological transition of our infrastructures with the goal of continuing to improve the travel experience and quality of service for our customers".