Three ‘smart city’ trials using Sony Europe’s IMX500 smart vision sensors will be carried out in Rome next month.

The trials, carried out by Italian energy company Envision, aim to analyse and deliver a smart parking system using the IMX500 sensors, cut down pollution and reduce traffic.

The trials are intended to analyse the effectiveness of a system that allows drivers to be alerted via a smartphone app before being directed to a free parking space near their destination.

The tests will also feature a study of smart city systems that can optimise capacity while boosting the use of its public transport network.

This will involve implementing smart bus shelters, counting passengers boarding and alighting every bus, and identifying overloading to ensure better provisioning of buses and optimised costs.

An alert system at pedestrian crossings will be activated to alert drivers when pedestrians are crossing. The system will use low-latency smart lighting on the road to make pedestrians more visible in order to reduce accidents at crossings.

The IMX500 is claimed to be the first image sensor to feature artificial intelligence (AI) processing functionality.

The configuration used for this trial allows real-time metadata concerning free parking spaces, pedestrians about to cross roads, and passengers boarding and alighting buses to be yielded.

The system does not store images or leaves the sensor, thus meeting privacy requirements. It allows the city to require less bandwidth, scale it easily using current networks and reduce power and communication costs.

Sony Corporate Alliance and Investment managing director Antonio Avitabile said: “This is a clear and concrete example of where Sony’s smart vision solution can serve our customers’ 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.”