In a few days, the Parking Network Virtual Conference will be taking place. Professionals from around the globe will be introducing exciting start-ups, presenting their products, showcasing their solutions, and sharing their success stories.
Ahead of the conference, we wanted to raise the question of the parking space in this context of disrupted conventional mobility. Paradoxically, the advent of automated cars and the creation of infrastructures to accompany their development comes head to head with the desperate need for parking spaces. Currently, motorists spend between 17 and 24 hours a year trying to find a parking space in towns and cities. Cars whereabouts while looking for parking spaces is also responsible for 30% of a city’s traffic, causing a huge waste of fuel and related carbon emissions.
Car parks are at the heart of the challenges of new mobility and Smart cities. So what does the future hold for this space in the city of tomorrow?
The smart parking market has been significantly influenced by the advent of low power consumption IoT technologies. Sensor technologies, as well as a variety of other innovations including connected cameras, smart lighting and smart parking meters, are enabling more adaptable systems, capable of answering the needs of the various stakeholders: drivers who want to find places rapidly, parking operators who want to maximize the occupancy rates of their parking and improve their customer experience, and local councils who want to maximize the use of public space, check rotation levels in restricted parking areas and lower carbon emissions.
The act of parking has therefore evolved over the years from its ‘traditional parking’ model which doesn’t offer anything above the classic manually operated renting of space, to where we are today. First we encountered parking offering electronic services such as parking meters, and then automated parking allowing drivers to independently navigate the complete parking process – from knowing the occupancy status of the location to ticketing, parking the vehicle, and fee settlement.
But smart parking doesn’t stop there. New hardware and software solutions offer a whole new range of advanced services including:
Many car park companies are introducing sensor-based lighting, which is triggered by traffic or pedestrians. Libelium, who created one of the most interoperable and scalable smart parking systems in the IoT market, provides its clients with Smart light systems that measures ambient light in indoor or underground parking and in the streets thanks to directional sensor probes. The system saves money and energy by dimming lights during low traffic hours and enhances security by illuminating unlit areas when people are passing nearby.
Libelium also created Smart Parking nodes that use radar technology to detect precisely the availability of parking lots. These kinds of sensors hadn’t been widely adopted before, mainly because of the disruption associated with the installation and the quantity of sensors needed to monitor larger car parks. But Libelium’s sensors are wireless, which makes them easy to set up. Their low consumption design coupled with the use of the LoRaWAN network and robust Saft batteries offers long life to the device and make it a seductive and affordable solution for cities.
Our client Urbiotica has developed a complete portfolio of smart outdoor parking solutions. Their products range from on-street or mobile guidance to control of restricted or short time parking spaces, to pay-by-space parking control. Wireless sensors for single space detection and/or counting sensors detect and transmit in real time the availability of spaces. A dynamically changing message sign system that change works in tandem with a mobile application transmits the information to the users in the streets to help them identify available spaces in a timely manner.
Parking managers can follow and analyze parking use in real time via a web or mobile application in order to understand parking behavioral patterns, and can adjust meter enforcement times, rates, and maximum parking times to fill up normally unoccupied spaces. Parking control officers can be alerted when cars have overstayed or to other parking violations and can instantly geo-locate parking violations. The whole system can be integrated with third-party systems such as access control systems to create a seamless experience.
Such systems allow organizations to become – agile, intelligent, and adaptive.
Tomorrow’s parking experience could look like this:
Before even leaving the comfort of your sofa, you’ll be logging on an app that will recommend to you the closest available parking space to your destination. You’ll be able to book that space through the app. Next you’ll jump in your automated vehicle, read your newspaper or work on your computer while your car will be whisking you to your destination. Once there, the automated parking system will scan your car and record your parking time. A robotic valet will personally welcome you and park your vehicle. It’ll then be transported by a robotic dolly to a storage rack where it will be secured by cameras and alarms. Once you’ve finished what you came for, your car will be delivered to you within 3-5 minutes of your retrieval request. You can then pay online a fee that will vary according to the time of the day and the parking usage and you will get the receipt sent straight to your account, where you’ll be able to retrieve all your activity.
How about that?
This is going to happen in a not so distant future….
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