The “Turin Geofencing Lab” project, a result of the cooperation between the City of Turin and e-Mobility by FCA
Today, the City of Turin’s Department of Transport, Infrastructure and Mobility signed a cooperation agreement with Fiat Chrysler Automobiles to pilot – in city traffic – the integration of electrified mobility with the restricted traffic zone (Zona a Traffico Limitato –ZTL) management infrastructure.
The partners in the initiative are 5T (an in-house company of the City of Turin, which manages the access platform and gates to the ZTL integrated in the Mobility Central of the capital of the Italian region of Piedmont), the Centro Ricerche Fiat – the developer of powertrains, vehicle systems, materials, methodologies and innovative processes aimed at improving the competitiveness of FCA’s products – and GTT, the Turin public transport agency.
The “Turin Geofencing Lab”, as the project is known, was created to grasp the opportunities offered by the fast-increasing transformation of cities into “smart” areas – which connect and talk to means of transport – and, most of all, into “green” areas, i.e. those whose environmental impact is reducing at a rapid pace. In this context, an important role is played by electric vehicles and (especially in the current phase 1 of deployment) by plug-in hybrid vehicles, proposed as key elements in the transition to a new urban mobility.
The cooperation between the FCA e-Mobility team and the Centro Ricerche Fiat has resulted in the development of a prototype system with fully integrated on-board sensors able to preemptively recognize ZTLs. The sensors then automatically turn off the combustion engine and activate electric mode. This device will undergo a pilot scheme – a world first – looking into the logics of implementing geofencing and, specifically, the methods of communication with the Municipality of Turin and 5T platforms that manage the ZTL. As such, the “Turin Geofencing Lab” integrates electric mobility with the management of the city’s traffic, enabling plug-in hybrid cars – such as the Jeep Renegade 4xe, in which an experimental prototype of the device has been installed – to travel in city center restricted traffic zones in electric mode. The project objective is what makes it a world exclusive: its interaction with city traffic management platforms, to identify a car’s entry into a ZTL immediately and switch the vehicle to electric drive mode.
The way the “Turin Geofencing Lab” works is very simple. The on-board infotelematic system displays a message on the car’s screen to alert the driver that they are about to enter a restricted traffic zone. The system checks that “Electric Drive Mode” is ready and activates it automatically, so the car then runs with zero emissions. If the driver decides to change Drive Mode while in the ZTL – switching to “Hybrid” mode, for example – the system triggers an immediate alert of the issue and recommends changing back to electric mode. If the recommendation is ignored, and the car travels through the ZTL in non-electric mode, the City of Turin’s digital platform, managed by 5T, is notified by means of the communication strategy identified by the partners in the project. When you leave the restricted traffic zone, the system will automatically change the vehicle mode back to the settings from before you entered the restricted area.