Between postman drones and taxi drones, traffic jams are expected in the skies of Italy (but no drivers are expected).
However, it will soon not be necessary to look up to see vehicles moving without someone inside piloting them. In fact, the first self-driving cars in Italy are arriving in Turin. Turin is also the same city in which, or rather above which, a postman drone made the first flight of 7 kilometers last December.
Soon, therefore, in the city of the Mole it will be the turn of public self-driving cars. Let’s find out everything we know about the project that will officially start in May, but will be preceded by an experimental phase that will start between March and April.
Self-driving cars and Experimentation Italy
Self-driving cars will circulate in Turin thanks to Experimentation Italyproject of the ministry for technological innovation and digital transition.
Project that, we read on the official website, “allows startups, companies, universities and research centers to be able to experiment with their own innovative project, for a limited period of time through a temporary derogation from the current regulations.”
The main objective of the project is to “reduce the gap in innovation with respect to the rest of Europe and promote applications of emerging technologies, transforming Italy into an innovation laboratory that develops innovative technologies and ideas, with positive impacts for citizens, PA and businesses. “
Self-driving shuttles also arrive in Italy
Thanks to Experimentation Italia, therefore, for the first time in our country, the experimentation of a fleet of self-driving shuttles on the road in Turin has been authorized.
The ok is the result of the collaboration between the Department for Digital Transformation, the Ministry of Economic Development and the Ministry of Sustainable Infrastructures and Mobility.
The experiment, entrusted to GTT (Gruppo Torinese Trasporti), will be part of the SHOW project, funded by the European Horizon2020 program, which supports the transition towards an effective and sustainable autonomous-driving urban transport.
GTT will operate in collaboration with the LINKS Foundation, Swarco Italia, 5t of Turin and TTS Italia. The app that citizens will use will instead be developed by the German company Ioki.
How the project will be articulated
The release of the self-driving shuttles will take place in two phases.
There will be a first moment, called pre-demo, and which will take place between March and April 2022. In the test phase, still without passengers on board, the performance of the vehicles in real traffic will be verified.. For example, reactions to traffic lights and in the event of a pedestrian crossing the road will be monitored. In this test phase, training activities will also be carried out for on-board operators.
In the second phase, in May, the real experimentation will finally begin. The cars will be available to the citizens of Turin for five months: two self-driving shuttles will cover a journey of about 5 kilometers in the area of the hospitals of the City of Health and Science.
How to book self-driving cars?
For the citizens of Torio it will be very easy to use the two self-driving cars. Once the appropriate app has been downloaded, anyone can book the transport service, which will be free. Depending on the demand for the service, the shuttles will pick up passengers at the required stops and times.
Turin will thus have a service already present in other European cities, such as Madrid and Copenhagen.
The vehicles used
The vehicles used are produced by the French company Navya.
These are two shuttles with 14 seats each: 11 seated and 3 standing. These vehicles have level 4 of autonomous driving. This means that the shuttles are able to move in Turin traffic without the need for human intervention. But there will always be an operator on board to manually manage emergencies, such as in case of bad weather. The technicians, selected employees of the Torinese Trasporti Group, will be trained by Navya, and will also have the task of maintaining relations with the public on board.
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The statements of the ministers
The Minister for Technological Innovation, Vittorio Colao, said that “Innovations, especially radical ones, often encounter regulatory limits that do not even allow experimentation. But an innovation that benefits society as a whole must be able to be tested and, if it works, be made scalable quickly“.
These are the words of the Minister of Economic Development Giancarlo Giorgetti: “Being able to innovate and experiment with solutions that involve the application of new technologies is the best prerequisite for promoting the competitiveness of our production system.. For this reason we also pay particular attention to those projects such as Experimentation Italy which aim to introduce new sustainable mobility solutions in city transport “.
In the end, the Minister of Infrastructures Enrico Giovannini declared that “experimenting with innovative technologies in the mobility sector lays the foundations for promoting sustainable development in urban centers and therefore improve the quality of life of people and business activities “.