Key IoT technologies that Accentuate Smart Parking Solutions

According to The 2018 Revision of World Urbanization Prospects report of the UN, 68% of the world’s population is expected live in urban areas by 2050. This could have an impact on the use of parking spaces- affecting how many people would be able to use parking spaces comfortably at any given time. If these spaces can be made available using intuitive smart parking technology and through Internet of Things (IoT) connectivity, the problem could be addressed.

IoT sensors can be installed in parking spaces. These IoT sensors will be parallelly linked to the cloud servers. This will make sure that data from across the parking lot is collected to create a real-time map to help look for available spaces. The map can in turn help navigate the driver to the free spot where there can be an electronic transaction to finish the due process. To understand how this would be functional, let’s understand how different types of sensors work:

How Parking Sensors Work

There are three main kinds of sensors that modern vehicles and parking spaces have installed:

Ultrasonic Sensor: These proximity sensors emit high-frequency sound waves to the surrounding to detect obstacles. Ultrasonic sensors use sound pulses at frequencies that are inaudible to the human ear. There is a receiver attached to the sensor that helps it calculate the distance of the obstacles and the vehicle’s distance from it. There is an alarm circuit that it is plugged into- which helps to sound off to the driver when they are too close to an obstacle.

Electromagnetic Sensor: As opposed to an ultrasonic sensor, these sensors can identify more types of objects as they can recognize a wider range of wavelengths that fall under the electromagnetic spectrum. More often than not, there is also a camera that is linked to the vehicle’s infotainment system that helps give visual cues to the driver.

Infrared Sensor: These sensors are electronic devices that are used to sense a certain characteristic of its surrounding. It does this by emitting and detecting infrared radiation around it. Infrared sensors are also capable of measuring the heat that is being emitted by an object as well detecting motion.

Now let’s look at how these sensors can be put to use in a smart parking space to aid parking efficiency:

Are IoT Devices really going to help with Smart Parking Spaces?

There are numerous offerings that smart parking spaces can provide. A smart parking guidance system would include sensors picking up real-time information and use LED indicators to connect to individual drivers’ device. These indicators can help to direct the driver’s attention to empty lots.

Seamless inflow and outflow of traffic along with optimum usage of available parking spaces are the main objectives when adopting smart parking solutions. The following are some of the benefits that smart parking technologies can provide with:

Augmented Operational Capabilities: Remote control of entry and exit barriers to allow for smoother flow whilst emergency vehicles such as ambulances need to pass through. There is a better management of parking capacity as the database on the cloud gets constantly updated by sensors with real-time information. Registration of time and exit of vehicles using automatic plate recognition can help keep track of drivers and plates entering the parking premises on any given day.

App-Based Parking Solutions: There are usually both a web app and a mobile app. The web app is targeted for employees who will operate the parking facility, giving them detailed statistics about the parking spaces and the cars- which spaces are the busiest/ which car make and model are present/ what time of the day is the busiest etc. The mobile app for users can help search for parking with criteria (opening hours, least expensive, near a location), use it for directions, making a parking reservation and even getting parking tickets.

Significant Cost Savings: Serverless architecture on the cloud allows for an on-the-go strategy of paying and scaling as per business requirements. When smart parking solutions are applied in private areas such as malls, hotels and theme parks, there is a scope for dynamic pricing strategies based on the occupancy of the parking spaces.

A new age of parking is being brought to us with numerous advancements in parking technology and evolutions in IoT connected devices

Smart Parking Technologies for Smart Cities

Smart parking solutions inadvertently play a significant role in the smart city ecosystem. Smart parking systems are more connected and provide a more fluid experience to the end user through technologies such as Machine Learning, Optical Character Recognition (OCR) and Augmented Reality (AR).

Augmented Reality (AR) maps can function as an overlay on top of sensor gathered information. This can be presented to the user on their mobile application with real images that can make indoor and outdoor navigation a lot easier for drivers.

Smart parking applications have a positive impact on all investors involved. Parking officials would benefit from adopting smart parking capabilities as they will be able to monitor for parking breaches in areas with high volumes of traffic. Managers and parking lot owners can use their space and revenue in their facilities a lot more efficiently.

Urbanization and the future of smart cities lies in Internet of Things (IoT) web development. Smart parking applications are the future of digital smart cities, where the consumer’s experience can be remarkably improved.

Author: Adhithya S
Based in Bangalore, Adhithya Shankar is a B.A Journalism Honors graduate from Christ (deemed to be University). He is aspiring to complete his higher studies in Mass Communication and Media, alongside pursuing a career in music and entertainment.