Finding a car parking space when you’re out and about can be a real nightmare. You search around the car park in frustration but still can’t find that elusive space. What if you could check the availability of car parking spaces before you venture out into town or a nearby shopping centre?
Google Maps has just announced that it will introduce a new feature that lets users know how hard it will be to find a parking space at their destination. The new feature will initially be available throughout 25 cities in the US including New York, Miami and Los Angeles. The parking feature will only be available to Android users, although we expect it to be introduced into the UK and onto iOS devices in due course.
To access the new parking feature, users need to input directions to their destination in Google Maps as normal. The directions tab will then pop up at the bottom of the screen as usual but in addition there will now be a rounded ‘P’ sign. If the parking icon is blue it signals that car parking is available, however if it is showing as red it means that parking is limited. According to Google, the feature will use historical data to predict how busy an area will be for parking.
Although this is a step in right direction we would like to see IoT used to assist shoppers further with their car parking. Imagine if all car parking spaces were fitted with a sensor that links up to an app. Users would be able to go onto an app and immediately see how many spaces there are and exactly where they are located before making a journey. This would help influence the shopper to head to the shopping centre/town centre if there are spaces available. The app could also pick up on location, so, when users enter the car park of a shopping centre it would send them a notification to the nearest parking bay and directions on how to get to there.
Cardiff City Council seem to be one step ahead. The Council is currently preparing to install infrared sensors on its parking bays across the city along with a mobile app to help drivers find vacant car parking spaces across Cardiff. Smart parking will install more than 3,000 detection sensors in on- and off-street parking bays and a mobile app called SmartApp will also be released to track where available bays lie in the city centre. Parking bays will be fitted with flush mounted, anti-slip SmartEye sensors. They will be equipped with radio frequency identification technology which will detect when a vehicle has occupied a space. The data is then sent to the SmartApp application where users will be able to see where spaces are available on a map or at a location they plan to travel too. Would you like to see a similar system introduced in your city centre?