2017 has been the “thing of the future” year with many smart objects developed and big progress made in terms of smart vehicles.
Italy is following this trend by revolutionizing the highway infrastructures thanks to “flying poles”.
In fact, if autonomous driving, smart objects and real-time communication are arriving on the market, then infrastructures need to be at the cutting edge of development.
To do so, CRA and ANAS are working together to modernize Italian highways by installing smart poles with Wi-Fi at least on 2.500 kilometers.
These smart poles will be settled at regular intervals and will have diverse functionalities. The first one is to enable drones to relay information to autonomous driving cars, and to authorities on Italian highways. The drones will be also used to deliver first-aid equipment in case of roadside accident.
The second one is to collect information in real-time about mobility and traffic data. The poles will gather information about the pollution levels, the wind speed, the humidity, and other weather conditions that will help drivers to be informed about road conditions.
Last but not least, information will be transmitted through Wi-Fi hotspots. Each smart pole will be equipped with a wireless device to give drivers the possibility to access a seamless Wi-Fi network over these 2.500 kilometers.
Carlo Ratti, one of the CRA’s founders, declared that “with this project, we aim to superimpose a digital layer over the physical infrastructure of our road network, to gather better data about our highways”. Moreover, he strongly believes that autonomous vehicles are the future and that highways will become soon the “Internet of Roads” with Wi-Fi as a team player.