If you’re a city dweller, you know that parking can be a nightmare. As if the traffic congestion wasn’t enough of an obstacle for arriving at your appointment on time, finding a suitable place to leave your car sometimes takes as long as the commute itself. And with the population of cities continuing to expand, this problem will only get worse without a new approach to this major dilemma.
But wait — before we all throw up our arms in despair and move to the countryside, there’s a solution in sight.
The integration of smart parking with automated technologies holds the promise of helping to solve the transportation challenges facing today’s cities. At DataArt, I’ve worked extensively with several clients to both reduce inefficiencies and improve parking convenience through advanced technological solutions. With concepts such as utilizing machine learning algorithms to analyze the behavior and preferences of drivers, it becomes possible to provide a personalized service while reducing the waste of resources by more accurately predicting parking occupancy. Furthermore, by integrating the various components of the parking sector, we’ve been able to develop solutions that offer a seamless interface to customers while retaining data security and improving its accuracy.
However, as an increasing number of people move to cities around the world, these concepts must be expanded upon through further integration with automated technologies. There are already trials being conducted to help determine the most effective ways to combine smart parking initiatives with self-driving cars. As an example, it’s expected that fully automated parking garages will exist in the not-too-distant future, with systems that use lasers to scan vehicles, which are then parked by a robotic valet and transported by an automated dolly to storage racks. Initial data indicates that as many as four times the number of cars can be parked in the same-sized parking lot with this method because there is no need to leave space between the vehicles. Imagine the change in our cities from this concept alone, adding a massive number of parking spots in a time when we desperately need more in virtually every area of every city globally.
Integration can be taken in many other directions as well, all with the aim of improving parking and driving for urban dwellers while reducing the inefficiencies for the related business providers and city governments. In addition to including a range of mobile payment options and other conveniences for drivers, the use of license plate recognition (LPR) can improve the physical security of parked vehicles. Beyond the traditional applications of security equipment in parking lots, LPR from video surveillance can solve the ongoing problem of illegal parking in long-term or specialized spots, such as those reserved for the disabled, which are often illegitimately occupied by other vehicles.
Of course, owners of parking spaces stand to benefit greatly from these advances as well, since possessing in-depth knowledge about the usage of parking spots allows for the development of sophisticated strategies that maximize revenue through data collection and analysis.
It’s a very exciting and challenging time in the world of transportation, as smart city technologies are advancing to solve the many problems that exist in today’s urban environments. By integrating smart parking with self-driving vehicles and other automated technologies, we will improve the quality of life for urban citizens while maximizing the value of the available resources.
And we’ll all finally be able to find a parking spot and get to our appointments on time!
The author of this blog is Igor Ilunin, head of the IoT practice at technology consultancy DataArt.