Energy and economic crisis: Road safety can lend a hand
The current energy crisis brings us back to the years in which Sodi Scientifica introduced the first speed cameras devices in Italy. In order to hinder the rising of prices, Italian government at that time took several actions, one of which speed control. Sodi Scientifica, who has been operating since 1964, had already a solution to offer.
Almost 60 years ago Fiorelli Sodi, founder of Sodi Scientifica, invented a device that nowadays is well known in Italy under the name of Autovelox (speed camera). The first tests for speed detection took place in 1966, on the avenue in Parco delle Cascine – in Florence – where Mr. Sodi had established his technical office: a small business that today we would call startup.
The first version of this device – a motion sensor installed in two pneumatic pipes secured to the ground – had the name Autovelox printed on the front. This device is still nowadays in the Museum of Sodi Scientifica.
THE ECONOMIC BOOM
The time between the 50s and the 60s of the 20th century, which corresponds to the Italian Second postwar period, is remembered as the time of the economic boom.
After an initial phase of reconstruction, innovation climax was reached in 1960. This new era of innovation was destined to last until the end of the 70s and turned our bel paese from an underdeveloped agricultural economy into one of the major world economic power. Together with the economic growth, came the motorization of the Italian population.
A1 Highway, which connects Milan to Naples (also called the Sun Highway), is the longest highway on the Italian territory and the main meridian route of the Italian highway system, composed of 764 km and opened by the Prime Minister Aldo Moro on the 4th of October 1964. Within less than 10 years, however, the international economic system was run over by a severe crisis.
It was the Oil Crisis that took place between the 1973 and the 1974 to determine the turnaround in the economic cycle. In those years, the economic system had to adjust to the sudden and significant rise in the price of oil – its main energy source. The economic expansion of the post-war period was indeed increasingly dependent on oil: it was indeed the main resource for industries, transport, heating, and production of all the plastics, colors, fertilizers, cleaning products , fibers, etc.
In 1973, when the 4th Israeli-Palestine war started, the Arab states which were part of OPEC introduced an embargo on all the Western countries that were supporting Israel – the Netherland and the USA above all the others –, gradually decreasing crude oil production.
Within few months, worldwide stocks went down of 10%, while the oil price doubled, until it reached 4 times its value in a year, going up from 3 to 11,5 dollars. The Italian Government took several measures for reducing energy consumption, among those: alternate-day travel and speed control.
The push to innovation was to be found in the economic factor and not to the social cost of lack of road security, which was yet not a priority. Fiorello Sodi, who patented, industrialized, and rendered conformed to the law his invention – foreseeing its role in saving human lives – answered to the requests of the Minister of Home Affairs, giving start to the history of speed controls in Italy. Following the success of Autovelox, Sodi Scientifica Traffic Division was created, which still today designs security systems to minimize road traffic accidents.
The role of speed monitoring in controlling and reducing consumptions.
In 2022, here we are again in an energy crisis , within a scenario that is somehow similar to the one of 1973: the causes are once again a war and an irresponsible policy of energy consumption. In these circumstances new solutions are yet to be found.
Autovelox will keep on giving its contribution in road safety and at the same time production of fossil fuel.Paolo Sodi, CEO, Sodi Scientifica