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Autovelox: when Made in Italy is not love at first sight!

When we get a speed ticket, we are certainly not very happy, especially if a speed camera detected the offence.
However, contrary to what one might think, this device was not created to torment us but to promote road safety.

reading time4 minutes

Let’s face it: not all Made in Italy products can be loved in the same way. Case in point? Try to think of the last fine you were served. If the violation has been detected by a speed camera, your first thought would probably not have been to praise the device’s technology nor to study its history. Yet Autovelox® is a 100% Made in Italy product and its history – who would have thought it? – is undoubtedly intriguing.

The story you don’t expect

This is the 1960s, at the height of the economic boom. In 1964, Prime Minister Aldo Moro inaugurated the Autostrada del Sole, Italy’s longest motorway, 760 kilometres connecting the country from North to South. Also in 64, Fiorello Sodi, a Florentine engineer, opened Sodi Scientifica Srl and patented the first speed-control device in 1966, starting to test it on Viale delle Cascine in Florence, where he lived and had his workshop. Fiorello Sodi’s idea was to build a device that would promote road safety and save lives as the number of cars was increasing dramatically.

Yet the success of Autovelox® is due, first and foremost, to economic reasons. The 1970s, with the oil crisis, marked a reversal of the previous decade’s trend. In 1973, the drastic reduction in world oil supplies and the consequent doubling of its price led the Italian government to implement a series of energy-saving measures, making it necessary to monitor vehicle speed for the first time in history. Thus, Autovelox® was adopted nationwide… and the rest is history.

A simple and effective device

How does this device work? The Autovelox® system uses two laser sources. As the vehicle passes in front of the detection device, it interrupts the beams emitted by the sources, and a mathematical formula is used to calculate its speed. The speed value is the result of the difference in the distance between the two sources divided by the time between the two ‘breaks’. The device, which can take photos even in the dark and in all weather conditions, has become Sodi Scientifica’s flagship product. Soon, Sodi’s initial intuition to promote road safety actually became the reason behind the success of Autovelox®.

A success story that… doesn’t stop

On 11 July 2002, President of the Republic Carlo Azeglio Ciampi appointed Fiorello Sodi Commendatore al Merito della Repubblica for his invention, which helped save many lives. Today, Sodi Scientifica is a leader in the road safety device design sector, led by Paolo Sodi (CEO) and Roberto Sodi, Head of Research and Innovation.

Based in Calenzano (FI), Sodi Scientifica boasts 31 national and international patents and invests 15% of its turnover in research and development.

Congratulations to those who promote road safety and bring Made in Italy technology to the world’s roads!

Learn about other outstanding companies from Tuscany.