The City Management System according to Leonardo

23 March 2021
The Castel Fusano Pine Forest as the theatre of operations for the Global Monitoring and X2030 project.

Interview with Tommaso Profeta, Managing Director of Leonardo’s Cyber Security Division.

Cities are environments that are becoming increasingly complex, both for the citizens who live there and for the councils that manage them. And a variety of systems and technological environments co-exist within them, all created at different times and with many levels of maturity. Their occupants’ expectations have also evolved, making the bar now higher than ever. City-dwellers want to live in safe, people-friendly cities where the services run like clockwork, aspects with a huge impact on quality of life. Therefore, city councils must now equip themselves with systems that allow them to make informed, coordinated decisions as quickly as possible to meet the citizens’ demands.

We talk about City Management System: Leonardo has developed a solution to this challenge, taking our cue from the launch of the project designed to protect the area of Castel Fusano, in the south of Rome. It is an important project for the capital since Castel Fusano Pine Forest is an area of high environmental and archaeological prestige, with enormous potential for its use by citizens. However, its specific layout, featuring a multitude of covered areas, also potentially provides an attractive location for illegal activities and acts of arson.

Analysis of citizens’ sentiment about the pine forest, carried out on social media, highlighted a strong concern that the area is not secure. This is evidenced by the fact that frequent fires have broken out in the forest over the last 20 years, significantly damaging the park. Castel Fusano has therefore been identified as an ideal location in which to experiment an innovative security solution, since it sums up all the problems generally encountered in green areas in one limited area.

And this is where Leonardo comes in, applying its expertise in terms of processes and technology regarding the security, analysis and management of data and systems that support the decisions made within the City Management System domain.

Tommaso Profeta, Managing Director of Leonardo’s Cyber Security Division, explains: “We’re talking about a technological platform that enables us to integrate in a single information framework the data from a series of heterogeneous sources, some of which even existed before the system itself.” While the platform is not designed to replace the existing one, it aims to “supplement and complement it, with data sourced from satellite systems and new enabling technologies, all with a view to providing the decision-maker, i.e. the city council, with all the levers it needs to make quick, well-informed decisions.”

X-2030 is the name of the platform which, as Profeta recalls, is one of the technological milestones of the 'Be Tomorrow - Leonardo 2030' strategic plan, which will accompany the company in all its research and development activities until 2030.

But what are the features of X-2030?

"X-2030 guarantees information superiority, being capable of interacting with pre-existing systems and of acquiring, filtering, and correlating data from diversified, structured and unstructured sources,” says Profeta. “This includes all the databases used by a city council, all the data from the sensors in the local area, such as video cameras, hydrogeological detection and monitoring systems, and fire safety equipment. But also all the opportunities for gathering information offered by the open sources online, including the social networks.

The platform acquires and correlates these data, extracting maximum value from them thanks to the artificial intelligence algorithms we implement and the supercomputing capacity offered by Leonardo’s davinci-1 High Performance Computer installed in Genoa, which boasts cutting-edge technological capability.”

Another important function of X-2030 is its ability to integrate different communication systems, according to Profeta:

"The platform makes it possible to integrate narrowband, mission-critical channels, like those of the municipal police and the rescue services in general, with the capabilities offered by broadband technology, looking ahead to 5G and therefore exploiting the versatility of the communication channel thanks to the multi-vector Hybrid Network. The human-machine interaction aspect is designed to enable the operator to use the interface easily and quickly, through an intuitive touchscreen. All the information presented to the operator on the touch map is also georeferenced to enable them to view the forces present in the area and to interact with them instantly, making the most of a vast range of communication devices; from radio to smartphone. Cyber security is already part and parcel of the X-2030 design."

Through an innovative ad hoc solution devised and implemented for use in Castel Fusano, critical situations can be reported in real-time to the operations rooms of the stakeholders involved.

"The Castel Fusano area is an excellent location for implementing this platform because it is heterogeneous,” adds Profeta. “Not only does it host natural resources, some of which have been affected in recent years by serious fires. Nearby, there are also quadrants of the city that are very delicate from a hydrogeological point of view, occasionally subject to flooding and structural hydrogeological problems in the past – another aspect of great interest for the overall management of the area. The monitoring system aims not only to safeguard the environmental part of the pine forest, but also to meet other types of needs, such as those regarding the safety and security of the populations that live in and use the area."

This supervision is also reinforced by satellites, using data from the Prisma satellite, equipped with one of the most advanced hyperspectral observation sensors in the world. A sensor developed by Leonardo will provide information on the state of the vegetation, the monitoring and management of forest resources, and control of human activities. The Prisma data will also make it possible to create a fire risk model that can be used to predict when, how and where fires are most likely to occur.

In a nutshell, technological excellence at the service of the citizen, and a project Leonardo is extremely proud of. “We created these solutions above all to protect ourselves. By this I mean that we conceived, developed and checked them internally before proposing them to our clients, with a view to both testing them out and ensuring a hi-tech profile. What makes us stand out is our in-depth knowledge of the processes and our excellent command of the technologies required to create these solutions. Leonardo is an industrial company and that means research, development and innovation. We are proud to carry out these industrial activities with an all-Italian supply chain,” Profeta concludes.