The first important step towards the mobility of the future features the technology of the Italian start-up WaterView. On the occasion of the World Alpine Ski Championships in Cortina 2021, underway until next February 21, Anas presented the first European Smart Road trial, an 80 km stretch of state road 51 between the town of Ponte nelle Alpi and the Cimabanche pass, which has been equipped with IoT solutions and Big Data and Machine Learning technologies to increase safety for road users and optimize both the control and maintenance of infrastructure and civil works.
A Road Weather Information System (RWIS) has also been activated along the SS51 Smart Road for real-time measurement of weather and road surface conditions, based on WeatherCAM computer vision technology, developed and patented by WaterView. Unique in the world, the WeatherCAM technology allows to use the video surveillance cameras distributed along the route as real weather stations that actively communicate with the staff in the control room and with the connected vehicles in transit.
WeatherCAM analyzes the images captured by the cameras installed inside the new multifunctional stations installed by Anas on the SS51, and for each of them it returns every minute updated information on any ongoing precipitation (rain, snow or hail), on the ambient temperature, on the visibility distance and on the road surface conditions (clean, snow-covered or flooded).
The artificial intelligence developed by WaterView allows the use of single connected devices, such as common video surveillance cameras, to obtain a very detailed and constantly updated picture of the road infrastructure conditions in relation to weather events, which, along a route of 80 km and about 1000 m of altitude difference in a mountain environment, can have extremely localized and diversified characteristics and intensity.
The collected information is then conveyed by the connectivity systems installed inside the multifunctional stations to the control room, where, in addition to the current situation, warning messages are also displayed regarding local weather conditions, such as particularly heavy rain, the deposit of snow on the road surface or a drop in temperature, to support management and maintenance activities by Anas both during the event and in predictive mode. The V2I (Vehicle-Infrastructure) communication and WI-FI connectivity systems integrated in the RSUs (Road Side Units) also make it possible to send detailed information in advance to the connected vehicles about the weather conditions that will be encountered along the road, to the benefit of the safety of all users.
The adoption of WeatherCAM is part of the broader framework of modernization of the Italian road network that ANAS has launched through the Smart Road project, which plans the creation of 3000 km of smart roads by 2030, with a highly innovative technological infrastructure. Its objectives: comfort and protection of the motorists, thanks to a dynamic and intelligent management, ready to face the future challenges of an increasingly connected and autonomous mobility.