The Evolution of Parking Technology: How Artificial Intelligence is Shaping the Future of Parking?
The evolution of parking technology, fuelled by artificial intelligence (AI), offers promising answers to the urgent issue of insufficient parking places.
In recent years, India has encountered a pressing issue: a severe lack of adequate parking spaces. With the number of motor cars exceeding each passing day, the country’s current parking situation falls severely short of meeting expectations. According to an IBM study, drivers in Delhi spend an average of 19 minutes looking for a parking spot, with the situation being considerably worse in Mumbai and Bengaluru. In response, urban centres and parking lot operators are turning to technology for solutions. The field of artificial intelligence (AI) has emerged as a game changer in addressing this issue by providing drivers with real-time information on parking availability, shaping the future of parking.
What is AI-based smart parking?
AI-based smart parking is an innovative solution that harnesses data from various devices such as sensors and cameras to create an intelligent parking management system. These devices are either retrofitted within parking lots or placed in close proximity to detect the availability of parking spots. The collected data is then transmitted to software connected to Internet of Things (IoT) devices, which communicate the parking spot availability to users. In addition to information about available spots, drivers can also access useful details such as parking pricing. Some companies even offer features like reservations and payment through e-wallets, making the entire process more hassle-free.
AI-Driven Technologies driving smart parking:
Computer vision: By utilizing data from parking lot cameras, computer vision technology identifies vacant parking spaces. This approach involves analyzing the markings on an empty lot and using geometric data to enhance accuracy. This innovative application of computer vision not only streamlines the parking process but also optimizes space utilization, providing a seamless and efficient parking experience for drivers.
Deep learning: Deep learning employs AI neural networks that have been exposed to comprehensive parking data. Similar to humans, these systems learn from experience, becoming more accurate as they collect and analyze more data. Apart from determining parking spot availability, deep learning smart parking technologies can also assess peak and off-peak parking hours, identify occupancy patterns, and implement dynamic pricing systems.
Ground sensors: Ground sensors utilize radar technology to detect parking space availability. These sensors are strategically placed across the parking lot floor. When a vehicle passes over a sensor, it sends a signal to the parking lot management system, indicating whether the space is occupied or vacant.
Parking counter systems: These legacy smart parking technologies count the number of vehicles entering or exiting a parking lot. While they are commonly used in structured and enclosed parking lots with limited entry points due to their narrow scope, the data collected from these systems can help businesses optimize their parking operations.
Emerging trends shaping the future of smart parking
Automated parking lots: Automated parking lots are gaining popularity worldwide. Unlike traditional parking methods that rely on human intervention, these systems utilize machinery to lift and park vehicles. Drivers leave their vehicles in a designated area, where sensors and lasers scan and measure the vehicle’s dimensions. Subsequently, a moving platform lifts and transfers the vehicle to an available parking space.
Automated parking lots not only simplify and enhance the parking process for drivers but also save considerable space as they are built vertically. Additionally, since drivers do not need to exit their vehicles, there is minimal space required between cars, further optimizing space utilization.
Self-driving cars: Many cars now come equipped with self-parking features, enabling drivers to park their vehicles automatically without being behind the wheel. This advancement streamlines the parking process and maximizes the utilization of parking spaces. Even drivers with vehicles lacking built-in self-parking capabilities can leverage sensors to confidently manoeuvre through crowded parking lots. Although classic cars and older models may require modifications to incorporate these features, once self-parking becomes mainstream, parking efficiency is expected to skyrocket.
The Internet of Things (IoT): The IoT refers to the interconnectedness of various devices via online communication. IoT systems enable drivers to access real-time information about available parking spaces through websites or dedicated apps. With this technology, drivers can plan their parking ahead of time, significantly reducing the time spent searching for a spot.
The advantages of IoT in parking extend beyond assisting drivers in finding parking spaces. These systems also help businesses optimize parking lot occupancy, promote their services across multiple platforms, and contribute to a reduction in carbon emissions resulting from drivers aimlessly circling in search of parking.
To conclude, the evolution of parking technology, fueled by artificial intelligence (AI), offers promising answers to the urgent issue of insufficient parking places. AI-powered smart parking systems that use computer vision, deep learning, and ground sensors give real-time parking availability information, optimise space utilisation, and improve the entire parking experience.
Emerging trends like automated parking lots, self-driving cars, and IoT connectivity are further shaping the future of parking, promising increased efficiency, convenience, and less environmental impact. With the impact of AI, the future of parking in urban areas around the world looks bright.
This article is authored by Dhananjaya Bharadwaj, Co-founder and CEO of ParkMate. All views are personal.