Interviews

Street Robot: dreaming of a city without traffic


A model to reproduce a car route inside a city or a motorway with telepass, speed cameras, traffic lights, parking lots to solve traffic, or at least try. The guys fromITIS Enrico Fermi of Rome it is ranked terzo in the 'InvFactor competition - you too are a genius!', the competition organized byIrpps-Cnr and by the European Commission Representation in Italy.

Conquered the bronze medal, the boys, led by professor Cesare Vettucci, ask to face environmental problems with a different vision, more openly and not hiding them in a "hole".

1) How did the idea of ​​Street Robots come about?

Living in Rome, we feel the problem of mobility a lot, so we decided to propose to the students the creation of a model that reproduces a car route inside a city and / or highway in which there are telepass, speed cameras, traffic lights, parking with free / busy . The students got passionate and invented the automated distance control with possible assisted braking and an intelligent traffic light that allows the vehicle to stop automatically in red and restart in green. Hence the idea of ​​participating in 'InvFactor - you too are genius!’.

2) Why the traffic? What can the model tell us?

Why the traffic is one of the main causes that slow down mobility and create accidents. The two inventions, relating to the automatic control of the safety distance and the mandatory stop with a red light, go in the direction of road safety.

The machines are made with gods Parallax robot, suitably programmed and equipped with sensors, which allow vehicles to follow a strip that indicates a one-way path where robots encounter the telepass, a dangerous curve, an intelligent traffic light and a car park with a free space indicator.

3) What problems arose in carrying out the work and what possible solutions?

The main problems were found in the realization of a large number of electronic circuits, necessary to control the various devices and in the choice of suitable transmitters and receivers. It was decided to arrange the circuits in a single sheltered place and for the automatisms it was decided to use IR sensors, ultrasonic sensors, photodiodes and phototransistors, motors, transmitters and receivers, suitably programmed microcontrollers.

4) How is the problem of the city experienced by the children? What would he like to see different?

Fermi is a school in Northern Rome frequented by students from neighboring districts and from outside Rome thanks to the Rome Viterbo railway line. The city for them is the area in which they live with the attractions it presents (cinemas, gyms, pizzerias, etc.), with chaotic traffic at peak times, with buses not always punctual. What they would like is a city with greater and more frequent connections, cleaner, with less traffic and more meeting places.

The teachers Maurizio Vichi, Americo Guercini and Cesare Vettucci with the two students Simone Paoletti and Alessandro Vorrasi

5) How many young people participated and how did they implement the project?

The project was carried out during the extra-curricular course of "Educational Robotics”, A very successful afternoon course that we offer to all students of the school.

In particular, this project was attended by third-year Electronics students who, with this job, have learned to work in groups, to divide up tasks, to assemble everything, to carry out troubleshooting, to program.

6) In addition to this experience, what other initiatives on green issues exist in your school?

In the last two years we have offered students an extra-curricular course on photovoltaic panels which was followed by numerous students. In addition, the students of the fifth classes last year carried out some internships at ENEA regarding thermodynamic solar in the field of optics applied to concentrating solar, with elements of thermodynamics and energy balances for solar plants.

7) The word to the children: how much do you feel about the issue of environmental sustainability for your future? How do you perceive the role of schools and institutions in this area?

It is now clear to everyone that thehumanity is living in an unsustainable way, consuming the Earth's natural resources faster than it can regenerate.

Today we are aware that tomorrow we will inherit a collapsing planet and for this reason it is necessary for the school to participate in the formation of a good environmental sensitivity, accompanied by a civic sense (also with seminars and educational visits, perhaps in Malagrotta to show and hear from close). In fact, it is important to experience these problems with a different vision, facing them more openly and not hiding them in a "hole".

Interview byMarta Abbà

Video: Tech Innovation for the Underserved Starts w. Listening. M. Bernardine Dias. TEDxPittsburghWomen (October 2020).