Parking has always been a problem, be it in a large country or a small developing country. Therefore, smart parking is a potential IoT solution/application that can drastically solve this problem and improve everyone’s life, says Ritesh Sutaria, CEO of fast softtech.
Suppose you arrive at your destination twenty minutes before the scheduled time for a very important meeting. You have enough time as long as you can find a place to park. There is no parking space left for you to park your car. You are driving desperately looking for street parking but you can’t find any. Also try the underground parking for the building across the street. While driving, you need to press pause to stop suddenly. There is a lot of traffic ahead of you, trying to do the same. You try to call a member of the meeting to let them know you’ll be late, but there’s no cell phone network in the underground car park.
It takes half an hour to find a space. When he finally arrives at her office for the meeting, sweating profusely and out of breath, the receptionist informs him that everyone has already left. Her meeting was canceled because of her, and now he must deal with serious losses.
This is not the story of one person. In a recent study conducted by SpotHero, 48% of Americans shared that parking their car has always been a stressful job. 27% of those surveyed spent almost 30 minutes looking for parking and 63% said that finding a parking space was the main cause of their late arrival.
In 2022, about 4.3 billion people (55% of the world) started living in urban environments, and this is expected to increase to 80% by 2050. It can have a direct effect on how car owners park in the cities.
So what is the solution to this problem and what can be done to improve city parking?
How smart parking IoT works
The savior from parking problems is smart parking technology combined with IoT connectivity. This innovative technology and the installed integrated sensors determine the available empty parking spaces. This IoT data is transferred via a wireless connection to a cloud server. All parking space data is collected and analyzed in real time to create a map of available spaces for those looking for a space. Drivers looking for a parking space can use the innovative real-time parking map to get directions to the nearest available space.
Modern systems can reserve these spaces and receive electronic payments from drivers. In this case study of an IoT smart parking solution, the technical components have an HC-SR04 ultrasonic sensor that calculates physical distances using ultrasonic waves and an ESP8266 microcontroller. Both are installed in all parking lots.
The IoT device sends a periodic update over a wireless signal using the MQTT protocol to a cloud server running AWS IoT services. The cloud server accumulates data on all parking spaces. Show users the available parking spaces through a web or mobile application so they can choose one.
How IoT sensors detect free parking space
IoT sensors use an ultrasonic wave to determine the distance to something. Each sensor is implanted on the surface of the parking space and finds the distance to a vehicle’s landing gear if the parking space is full.
3 possible detection conditions:
- If the space is occupied: The distance determined to an object by the sensor is 10 to 50 centimeters, four to 20 inches.
- If the space is free: The distance determined to an object by the sensor is more than 50 centimeters, about 20 inches.
- If the space is dirty: The distance determined to an object by the sensor is less than 10 centimeters, that is, four inches.
If the condition is “dirty”, it means that the sensor may be covered by something or blocked, and the device needs quick maintenance and cleaning.
The application operates on AWS IoT and AWS Lambda and shows a controller free slots in green, full/occupied slots in red, and sensor failures in yellow.
IoT-based smart parking system configuration
The number of parking spaces available in a parking lot specifies the software and hardware needs for IoT configuration and system architecture. For large parking lots, it is better to use gateways and LPWAN protocol for sensors.
Using the LoRaWAN standard is one of the latest IoT trends and the best way to improve the operating hours of a stand-alone system by minimizing power usage. According to LoRa Alliance specifications, this decreases the demand for battery replacement. Battery life is increased to five years before replacement.
IoT-based smart parking sensors
Smart parking sensor types have ultrasonic, electromagnetic field, and infrared detection.
- Ultrasonic: Detection accuracy is improved by using ultrasound to know the measurement. The drawback of this type of sensor is the possibility of blockage due to dirt.
- Electromagnetic field detection: This sensor detects slight changes in the magnetic field whenever metal objects are brought close to the sensor.
- Infrared: This type of sensor measures changes that occur in ambient temperature and identifies movement.
Parking 4.0: Future and opportunities in smart cities:
The adoption of smart parking systems is expected to grow because the technology is beneficial and brings useful changes in daily life.
Let’s look at the modern features that can be included in the system to make it a highly multifunctional management tool.
- Parking demand management function and space optimization.
- Custom parking guidance system option.
- Option of parking reservation systems.
- The feature of dynamic parking prices and policy optimization.
- Ability to detect parking zones, fees and overstay violations.
Augmented reality technology is a great help for large-scale parking lots, as it can create a mapping feature overlaid on real images captured by a smartphone. These AR-based indoor and outdoor navigation systems can direct drivers with a virtual route to their parked cars.
Another innovation uses visual image processing to capture a vehicle’s license plate number for identification with the support of optical character recognition technology. It then automatically opens the parking gate and the system helps the driver find a suitable parking space.
So, we can conclude that the future of smart parking systems is quite promising. The technologies behind this possible solution are Artificial Intelligence, IoT, Machine Learning and Augmented Reality. These are also responsible for the digital transformation of companies under the term “Industry 4.0”. By potentially using these innovations, Parking 4.0 will improve the efficiency of the parking system by solving urbanization problems.
The author is Ritesh Sutaria, CEO of Prompt Softech.
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