The four Piaggio Porter Electric Powers of the Overland 13 expedition, equipped with an artificial vision system that enables them to drive autonomously and without human control, have reached the city of Moscow.
Claudio Surdo, the Italian Ambassador in Moscow, personally wanted to welcome the Overland 13 team against the spectacular and evocative backdrop of the Friendship of Nations fountain. The Ambassador congratulated the team for reaching this significant milestone in the journey and was fascinated by the all-Italian technology of the self-driving Piaggio Porters.
The expedition has travelled the 5,941 Km from Italy to the Russian capital in just 26 days: less than a month since they left Rome on July 22nd, the electrically powered Piaggio Porters have already completed almost half of the 13,000 kilometres that will take them across Europe and Asia to reach the International Exposition at Shanghai, the theme for which this year is "Better City, Better Life".
The little convoy of zero environmental impact vehicles, driven by state of the art guidance systems, is expected to arrive in Shanghai on October 26th, symbolising the significant contribution that Italian research centres and the country's two and four-wheeler motor industry can make to the establishment of ever more evolved forms of eco-compatible mobility.
The initiative, the first of its kind ever, is the result of collaboration between Piaggio, the University of Parma and VisLab (Artificial Vision and Intelligent Systems Laboratory) - a spinoff company of the University of Parma which develops artificial vision and intelligence systems for automotive applications, whereas Overland - a name famous for its expeditions to every corner of the globe - is responsible for organising the logistics for the journey.
The four Porter Electric Powers are powered by the same drivetrain as the standard model, which offers a maximum speed of 55 Km/h and a range of 110 Km on a full charge. The vehicles supplied by Piaggio were outfitted with technology developed by VisLab and the University of Parma: visual perception, decision and control systems – which allow the vehicles to drive autonomously in safety – powered by solar panels on the roofs of the vehicles and constantly interfaced with the other vehicles in the expedition.
Produced and commercialised since 1994, the Piaggio Porter Electric Power goods and passenger transport vehicle has been substantially revised in terms of both technology and performance numerous times during its lifetime, and has been recently updated again. The Porter Electric – a particularly suitable zero emissions solution for urban service providers and goods transport in historic city centres, thanks also to its impressive range – is extremely popular as an electric fleet vehicle in Italy and abroad: with over 5,000 examples in use today, it is the best-selling electric four-wheeler in Europe. The city of Reggio Emilia alone uses 450 examples of the Porter Electric, while the Municipality of Barcelona has just recently purchased 100.
Porter Electric Power has been chosen by many private and public operators in Italy and Europe on the strength of its outstanding compactness, agility and load carrying capacity, coupled with the unquestionable advantage of absolutely clean mobility.