AI-Powered Video Security for Italy’s Highway Pedemontana Veneta
01.09.2022 - Dropped cargo and queues detected by cameras used as traffic sensors.
A new Italian highway relies on AI-powered video technology to keep traffic moving smoothly and safely and to provide operators with crucial information on traffic volume and speed.
The need for a motorway to link the cities of Vicenza and Treviso emerged in the 1970s as the Venetian countryside became increasingly urbanized, while the opening of the European Union to the east in the 1990s also brought more traffic across the region. To address this, the first stone of what is now the Pedemontana Veneta or ‘SPV’ toll highway was laid in November 2011 in Romano d’Ezzelino, and in 2012 work began on the first stretch of the 2.6 billion euro road.
Constructing the highway presented a number of engineering challenges, including bridging the Poscola, Astico, Laverda, Muson and Brenta rivers — the latter requiring a bridge of 430 meters in length alone. The highway also features two natural tunnels and 33 artificial tunnels, the longest of which runs to six kilometers. Now completed, the SPV’s 162 kilometers link Vicenza and Treviso, interconnect with three national motorways and deliver greater mobility for the area’s 4.9 million inhabitants and the 500,000 businesses that call the region home.
Given the amount of traffic the road is expected to carry, it is vital that SPV’s operators keep the highway moving smoothly and safely and that they have access to data on traffic volumes and average speeds. To do so, they are relying on an AI-powered video surveillance system from Hanwha Techwin and its technology partner, Sprinx. Italian distributor Sirius-Compass and systems integrators SIS scpa and Pagano Spa worked together to install 600 cameras along the route of the SPV, calling on the manufacturer’s high-resolution Wisenet cameras with day/night ICR technology and a wide dynamic range to deliver high-quality images regardless of light levels. The installation also includes 32x zoom PTZ dome cameras, all managed through a Wisenet Wave video management system.
Easing Congestion and Early Incident Detection
The cameras are integrated with analytics expert Sprinx’s ‘traffix.ai’ solution, which uses deep learning and image processing to deliver a wide range of server-based analytic functions that increase safety for road users and provide greater insight into how the highway is being used.
These functions include automatically detecting traffic incidents in real time and immediately alerting the highway’s operators to initiate an emergency response. Whether it is a stalled vehicle in one of the highway’s lanes, or a car travelling the wrong way down the highway, the system can reliably detect events that could cause traffic congestion at best, and serious accidents at worst. The solution can also spot and alert operators to smoke in any of the highway’s many tunnels, which might indicate a traffic incident or a fire.
Using the cameras as a traffic sensor, the software is also able to detect queues of traffic and objects in the road, such as cargo dropped by vehicles en route and which presents a hazard for oncoming traffic. Added safety is also ensured by the system’s ability to alert operators to any pedestrians who have strayed onto the highway.
Delivering Insights Into Road Use
Deploying AI in the system delivers additional benefits for the SPV beyond safety alone. Using traffic analytics, the system installed along the length of the highway keeps track of vehicles moving in any of the Wisenet cameras’ field of view, and is able to collect data on the highway’s two lanes at the same time and in both directions of travel. The traffic data that can be recorded and stored as a result provide a rich source of insight into how and when the highway is being used and by what types of vehicles. The system enables operators to undertake vehicle counting, measure traffic density and ascertain the average speed of vehicles along the route. Fully integrated with the Wisent Wave video management system, all this information is delivered via an intuitive web user interface.
“Together, Hanwha Techwin and Sprinx make the Pedemontana Veneta highway safer for road users and help keep traffic flowing,” says Gerando Capezzuto of SIS scpa. “Using the combination of Sprinx’s AI video analytics and the Wisenet Wave VMS platform of Hanwha Techwin, we are able to instantly detect incidents along hundreds of kilometers of road to provide a faster response, while the insights it has provided into how the highway is being used are proving invaluable in maximizing the efficient use of the road.”