Sony sensors harnessed in Rome smart city trial

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Sony Europe’s AI-powered sensors will be deployed in Rome this June, as part of a smart city trial to tackle congestion, minimise crowding on the city’s buses and increase pedestrian safety.

According to Sony, the IMX500 is the first image sensor to integrate an AI processing functionality. The configuration used for this trial allows it to extract real-time metadata related to information of a free parking space, the presence of a pedestrian about to cross a street, or the number of people getting on and off a bus.

No images are stored, nor leave the sensor, but provide data elaborated by neural networks on the exact location of parking, pedestrians and the number of people queuing at bus shelters.

Firstly, the trial, run by Envision, aims to evaluate and deliver a smart parking system using Sony’s IMX500. The solution looks to limit congestion and pollution caused by drivers trying to find a parking space.

“Genius version smart tips” have been installed on top of some traffic lights in Rome’s city centre

Using ‘smart tips’, the system alerts drivers via a smartphone app to the location of a free parking space, closest to the driver’s destination.

Additionally, the trial includes a study of the smart city systems to optimise capacity on the bus network. By implementing smart bus shelters, the solution can identify overloading. Sony said using such data could ensure better bus provision.

Furthermore, the system will be used as an alert system at pedestrian crossings. It will be progressively activated to alert drivers when pedestrians are crossing, using low-latency smart lighting on the road to make them more visible with the aim of reducing Rome’s accidents on pedestrian crossings.

Antonio Avitabile, managing director of corporate alliance and investment at Sony, said: “This is a clear and concrete example where Sony’s smart vision solution can serve our customer’s purpose while respecting people’s privacy.

“We have a vision of achieving more sustainable and liveable cities, and through the IMX500 scalable platform we can substantially accelerate this process.”

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