Components Of A Smart Parking Setup
Latest Trends From The Smart Parking Markets
The world is going to have more than 2 billion cars on the road by 2020. And you will get a fair idea of how busy the traffic system would be, and how challenging it will become to find convenient, safe parking spots. A recent survey found that, nearly 30% of traffic congestions in urban downtown areas are caused by drivers frantically looking for spaces to park their vehicles. Things can, potentially, get very chaotic.
Smart parking has, over the last few quarters, emerged as one of the most important sub-domains of Internet of Things (IoT) and in the creation of truly ‘smart cities’. In a recently published report, the global smart parking industry has been projected to move beyond the $26 billion mark by the end of 2021, with the market CAGR hovering around 18%. So there is a big market for smart parking.
Components Of A Smart Parking Setup
An advanced smart parking system architecture needs to have the following:
1. Parking sensors/Occupancy sensors – In each and every parking facility, a set of RF sensors have to be installed. These sensors would relay real-time data about the availability (or otherwise) of slots to nearby drivers. These ‘occupancy sensors’ need to run on battery (wire-connectivity is impractical, given the high number of sensors that have to be used), have long-range RF capabilities (either with a mesh network or with LoRa technology), and offer excellent accuracy. The number of ‘false positives’ generated by a sensor have to be minimal.
2. Gateway hardware- Changes in the availability of parking slots will be reflected through a status change of the sensors – and that, in turn, will be collected in a gateway. Unlike the sensors, the gateways have to be operational round-the-clock (the sensors are functional only when their status changes). The data collected in the gateway are then sent on to the centralised server.
3. Server – The server in a smart parking setup needs to have 2-way communication protocol support. On the one hand, it will receive the data from the gateways – to generate updated information about the free and occupied parking slots in any facility. At the other end, it will send real-time notifications to the dedicated mobile app in the user’s device – to guide them to the parking area, and the particular ‘vacant’ parking slot. A detailed map of the parking facility will also be sent from the server to the user, for additional guidance.
4. Mobile application – The final component of the smart parking architecture is the dedicated mobile app – which serves as the touchpoint for the final users (the app can be installed on smartphones and tablets). After receiving notifications from the server, the app would help the driver to navigate to the empty parking slot (no more confused driving around and resultant frustrations!). For this navigation, the application will either rely on the tools placed in the parking slots (off-road parking) or the phone GPS (for on-road parking).
Advantages Of Smart Parking
Think of a very common scenario: you drive to a posh shopping mall, but then face frustrations to find a suitable parking slot. With a smart parking system in place, you can easily bid adieu to such irritations. There are several other benefits of smart parking, to which we turn our attention next:
i) Parking slots found quickly – Researches have revealed that additional driving required for searching parking areas can be reduced by 21% – when a properly functioning smart parking system is in operation. The time required to find a vacant spot for parking goes down by a whopping 43%.
ii) Avoiding traffic congestions – 1 out of every 3 traffic jams are caused by irate drivers looking for public parking spaces. When there is an automated system to directly navigate them, such on-road congestions would obviously go down.
iii) Optimal usage of parking spaces – In a normal (read: traditional) parking regime, it is impossible to ensure that the parking facilities available are being efficiently utilized. Due to lack of information, some slots might remain empty – but drivers might not know about them. With the real-time information from parking sensors, that problem goes out of the window.
iv) More fuel-savings – When parking slots are found quickly, extra driving is not required – and hence, less fuel/gas gets used up by cars. Experts from the field of IoT have estimated that this fuel-savings are likely to reach 0.22 million gallons by 2030, and a massive 0.3 million gallons by 2050.
v) Greater revenues – Smart parking involves the use of advanced monitoring, information transfer and data analytics methods – leveraging the IoT ecosystem to the fullest. The real-time management and intelligent decision-making capabilities help in generating more revenues.
vi) Pay as you use – The parking meters and billing providers collaborate to notify the users about the total parking fees they have to pay. There are no chances of a person being charged more than what (s)he should.
vii) Accuracy – Minimal ‘false positives’ and highly accurate predictions/tracking of empty parking slots are key characteristics of any good smart tracking setup. There are no uncertainties involved – and car-owners can (nearly always) find a parking area in their locality, as and when they need.
viii) Less frustrations – Driving around in search of parking slots is not only a waste of time and fuel – it can be acutely stressful too. In China, the average number of people in a car is 6.75 (the corresponding figure is 1.4 in the US) – and things can get very frustrating indeed, if the lookout for a parking space goes on for too long. Smart parking promises a quick and satisfactory getaway from such troubles.
ix) A cleaner environment - The more you drive, the more will be the emissions from your car, and the more polluted the environment will become. Smart parking solutions can reduce emissions by up to 30%.
x) The safety factor – The presence of sensors and real-time parking management systems ensure that risks of car thefts and other forms of unauthorized vehicle access is close to zero. Aided by the smart parking system, a person can park his/her car without any worries, and find it later with ease.
The potential for expanding the smart parking industry is enormous. And smart parking is equipped such superior advantages. As with technology developing, we could believe car parking can be made easier than ever before!