Driverless car, road testing even in Italy

Closer we get to the era of driverless cars. The Smart Road Decree also authorizes our country to carry out on-road tests, which first involve the digital upgrading of the national road grid.

Published on 07 Jan 2019

Donatella Cambosu


Italy as well is getting ready for driverless cars: thanks to the Smart Road Decree, the Ministry of Infrastructure and Public Transportation, Graziano Delrio, has given the go-ahead to the testing on Italian roads and to the projects for the digital upgrading of the national road system.
TEN-T (Trans-European Networks-Transport), first-level SNIT (National Integrated Transport System) and motorway infrastructures will first have to become “Smart Roads” before new driverless vehicles can be introduced. The technical annex to the Smart Road Decree outlines the functional features that the infrastructure (existing and new ones) must be equipped with by 2030. The introduction of V2X connectivity – enabling the exchange of information among vehicles and between vehicles and infrastructure, pedestrians and devices – will create a life-like “technological ecosystem”. The roads will then be “smart” thanks to the introduction of measures for data communication with high bit-rate, Wi-Fi hotspots scattered in all car parks and gas stations, IoT connection services and traffic and weather detection systems capable of providing short-term forecasts. Costs of such interventions will be borne by the licensee of the infrastructure, the service or the managing entity.
Vehicle manufacturers, universities and research entities authorized by the Ministry of Infrastructure and Transport (MIT) will be invited to test driverless cars on public roadways. The application for authorization shall specify the owner of the vehicle for the purposes of third-party liability, the areas covered by the road test and the documentation proving the authorization by the Entity owning the road.
“Safety” is the key word of the Smart Road Decree: the applicant will be requested to describe “how” the vehicle can handle typical driving situations and interact with all possible road users. The risks associated with the use of the vehicle and the related countermeasures taken, as well as the safety measures taken to prevent unauthorized access to internal systems, must also be described. Finally, enter into a specific third-party liability insurance contract for driverless vehicles is mandatory.
Authorized vehicles will be filed in a special register and provided with special mark and test license plate. During the trial, a supervisor with appropriate requirements and certifications must be present. The supervisor must be able to promptly modify the functioning of the vehicle from automatic to manual mode.
The burden is not over. Throughout the term of the authorization (one year, renewed upon application), the owner must provide MIT with a detailed report on events or problems involving the driverless system. If there is a risk to traffic safety, the authorization may be suspended or even revoked by MIT.

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Donatella Cambosu

Scrive di tecnologie, startup e innovazione da oltre 15 anni. Dal 2015 collabora con il Gruppo Digital360, in particolare con le testate Startupbusiness, University2Business, EconomyUp. Collabora con InsuranceUp sin dal lancio del portale avvenuto nel 2015 e ha maturato un'ampia esperienza in ambito insurtech.

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