Florence-Livorno highway and road access to Livorno seaport provide large-scale testing ground for the AUTOPILOT IoT enabled autonomous driving

On 19 April, the AUTOPILOT Project Consortium visited the Italian pilot site. AUTOPILOT, (AUTOmated driving Progressed by Internet Of Things) is an EU-funded project that started in January 2017. It brings IoT into the automotive world to transfer connected vehicles into highly and fully automated vehicles. AUTOPILOT enabled autonomous driving cars will be tested, in real conditions, at six permanent large scale pilots in Finland, France, Netherlands, Italy, Spain and South Korea.

The Italian pilot site testing infrastructure encompasses the Florence–Livorno freeway together with road access to the Livorno seaport settlement. In November 2016 the site hosted the ITS Plugtest event organised by ETSI.

Figure 1: Map of the Italian test site located in Livorno, Tuscany

The Port of Livorno, favorably situated in western Tuscany, plays a major role in the European internal trade, ensuring frequent and fast maritime connections to southern European countries, as well as in the EU external trade, thanks to its well-established linkages to northern African countries and the Americas.

Livorno is also considered a pivotal node in the logistic chains linking the Mediterranean to East-Central Europe.  Livorno ranks first in Italy for new cars traffic (second in the Mediterranean Sea) and first for pulp and Ro-Ro traffic. Livorno, along with its freight village located nearby, is listed as Core node of the Trans-European Network of Transport (TEN-T) and is part of the core network “Corridor I”, which links the Mediterranean Sea to the Scandinavian peninsula.

There is direct access from the Port of Livorno to the highway to Florence (a.k.a. FI-PI-LI), a public infrastructure owned by the Regional Government and operated by a consortium of private industries (led by AVR). At the heart of Tuscany, this road system comprises 31 junctions connecting some of the main economic and civil conglomerates of the region like Firenze, Pisa, Empoli, Pontedera, and Livorno.

IoT and connectivity

The Livorno–Florence highway runs along a 100 km stretch with a dual carriage and two lanes in both directions.  It is equipped with ITS technology for control and data analysis in real time, with 44 Video Management Systems (VMS) spanning the whole road length and 32 Full-HD cameras. A Traffic Control Centre (TCC) located in Empoli acts as the centre of information and data analysis for the whole system. Built with best-in-class technologies, it allows extensive monitoring and control of traffic  in real-time from Florence to Livorno and vice-versa by means of a video wall. Several ITS appliances (complying with DATEX-based technologies) are used to keep track of events and to change the VMS according to the needs of the users, the decisions taken at the TCC, and eventual emergency.

Figure 2: AUTOPILOT partners & stakeholders at the Traffic Control Central managing the Italian AUTOPILOT pilot site

from left to right:
Filippo Visintainer: Project Manager for CRF in AUTOPILOT, Paolo Pagano: Director of CNIT / Livorno Port Authority joint laboratory; Italian Pilot Site Leader in AUTOPILOT, Alessandro Annunziati: Regione Toscana (officer for the Florence – Livorno highway) **, Carlo Ferrante: Città Metropolitana di Firenze (technical officer for the Florence – Livorno highway) **, Leonardo Graziani: Director of Global Service for Florence – Livorno highway**, Lorenzo Maraia: Director of the Florence – Livorno highway TCC **

** the highway is property of Regione Toscana (planning long-term investments), maintained by Città Metropolitana di Firenze (issuing contracts, bids), operated by Global Service (led by AVR)  for day by day activities

AUTOPILOT use cases to test technologies in real time

AUTOPILOT will implement a set of use cases focusing on urban and highway driving at Livorno. Results from tests in this pilot site will provide ITS stakeholders with valuable data for the applicability of the AUTOPILOT technologies in complex scenarios, like those of (inter)-modal logistics nodes.

Figure 3: Aerial view of the Port of Livorno


In order to remain competitive, the European automotive industry is investing in connected and automated driving with cars becoming moving “objects” in an IoT ecosystem eventually participating in BigData for Mobility. AUTOPILOT brings IoT into the automotive world to transform connected vehicles into highly and fully automated vehicles. The project will develop an IoT open vehicle platform and an IoT architecture based on existing and forthcoming standards, as well as open source and vendor solutions. As a result, the IoT eco-system will involve vehicles, road infrastructure and surrounding objectives in the IoT, with a particular attention to safety critical aspects of automated driving.

AUTOPILOT will develop new services on top of the IoT to involve autonomous driving vehicles, like autonomous car sharing, automated parking, or enhanced digital dynamic maps to allow fully automated driving. AUTOPILOT IoT enabled autonomous driving cars will be tested, in real conditions, at six permanent large-scale pilots in Finland, France, Netherlands, Italy, Spain and South Korea. The rest results will allow multi-criteria evaluations (technical, user, business and legal) of the IoT impact on pushing the level of autonomous driving.

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