Smart trams deployed across Florence tram network

Posted: 1 June 2021 | | No comments yet

Trams in the Italian city of Florence have been fitted with sensors in a bid to collect data and utilise it to improve the safety of both trams and private vehicles.

florence smart tram

Sensors have been fitted to some of Florence's trams

Smart trams are now running through the city of Florence in Italy, as part of the computing infrastructure developed by the EU-funded software project ELASTIC. A set of sensors has been recently installed on three trams in the Tuscan city, while three tram stops are being equipped with sensing, computation and communication capabilities according to those behind the project.

Bringing together scientific and industrial players as well as the local government and the Florence tramway operator GEST, ELASTIC says it is developing an advanced autonomous localisation system, which provides real-time accurate positioning information even when GPS coverage is not available.

In addition, sensors will improve the detection of hazardous situations in real-time to alert tram drivers and private vehicle drivers.

Currently, three tram vehicles operating in the Florence network have been fitted with multiple sensors, such as cameras, Inertial Measurement Units (IMUs), Radar and Lidar, and are generating massive amounts of data during each journey. This data is fused with information extracted from sensors located in tram stop surroundings and processed through complex Artificial Intelligence (AI) methods. ELASTIC says the next step is the conversion of this information into valuable knowledge in real-time regarding the tram position, the presence of obstacles along the tram line and tram stops, and the movement of citizens and vehicles. 

In that regard, ELASTIC says it is working towards the creation of smart areas around three key intersections between tram lines, city streets, and pedestrian crossings in Florence.

“Busy urban spaces are in need of innovative transport solutions and smart city applications. Forging ahead with the ELASTIC project, a high-end sensor-equipped system has been incorporated in the tram vehicles and soon at the tram stops of Florence collecting and aggregating significant figures of the performance of the transportation network”, said Eduardo Quiñones, senior researcher at the Barcelona Supercomputing Center (BSC) and coordinator of ELASTIC.

“This lays the basis for our next step: that of an active interaction between the vehicles and the city”.