Class project testing connected vehicle software in Italian city


Cutting-edge software technology developed by the European Class project is now being tested on connected cars in a real-world urban laboratory in the city of Modena in northern Italy.

The Class (Edge and Cloud Computation: A Highly Distributed Software for Big Data Analytics) project has received EUR3.9m (US$4.3m) funding from the European Union’s Horizon 2020 research and innovation programme, and started in January 2018 and is due to finish at the end of December 2020. Coordinated by the Barcelona Supercomputing Centre (BSC) in Spain, the project brings together a multidisciplinary consortium composed of all the stakeholders needed for the development of business innovations using real big-data. The project partners include:

  • Vendors from the ICT industry such as Atos Spain SA (Spain) and IBM Israel;
  • Users across different smart city domain sectors including private and public organizations such as the Comune di Modena (Italy) and Italian automaker Maserati SPA;
  • Researchers such as the Universita degli Studi di Modena e Reggio Emilia (UNIMORE) in Italy.

The Class framework is capable of powering compelling smart city applications, from digital traffic signs and smart parking to air pollution simulation and pedestrian avoidance applications.

Allowing the execution of big-data analytics under real-time constraints, the Class software architecture provides a solution to the problems of managing extremely large amounts of complex data from pedestrians, vehicles, and other urban traffic in real-time. Data-in-motion and data-at-rest analytics are integrated into a single development framework, which works with real-time guarantees. The Class software is currently being evaluated in the Modena Automotive Smart Area (MASA), a real urban laboratory in the Italian city of Modena. Data is already being generated and collected from IoT (Internet of Things) devices and sensors located in the MASA and on the connected technology-equipped Maserati cars.

The first outcomes of the smart city use cases have resulted in different applications, which will improve the traffic and pollution conditions of modern urban environments. Initial tests started generating a knowledge base with combined information of the city and the cars, upon which the following advanced smart city applications are being implemented:

  • The Digital traffic sign application allows for evaluating and improving real-time traffic conditions by advising on best routes available, for instance in the case of accidents or emergency vehicles;
  • The Air pollution simulation estimates the emissions of the moving vehicles in real-time;
  • The Smart parking system gathers and provides real-time data on the available spaces within the area.
  • The Obstacle detection system warns the drivers about pedestrians and objects that appear on their route, even if they are not visible in the car.

“It’s thrilling to see our technology powering the smart city use cases which will make our urban areas safer and less congested,” said Eduardo Quiñones, senior researcher at the BSC and coordinator of the Class project. “Thanks to its capacity to process big data analytics under real-time constraints, the Class framework is a significant step towards making safe connected vehicles a reality.”

Luca Chiantore, manager of the department of smart city, demographic services and participation of the Modena City Council, added, “We are delighted to be testing out the most innovative smart-city technologies, paving the way towards a truly responsive urban area which will improve quality of life for all citizens.”

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Adam joined the company in 1994, and has been News Editor of TTT since 2009. In his other role as Circulation Manager, he helped create the original Traffic Technology International distribution list 23 years ago, and has been working on it ever since. Outside of work, he is a keen fisherman, runs a drumming band, and plays an ancient version of cricket.