Toulouse is testing a new system where local drivers can find parking spaces by cell phone. The application can also tell if a car is illegally parked or whether someone has not fed the meter.
The program uses software in conjunction with electromagnetic sensors below street level, due to the fact that a parked car has a different electromagnetic reading than an empty spot and can be read for arrival and departure times to potentially streamline meter reading. City planners hope to use the data to ease traffic congestion and simplify the parking process throughout the city.
Spiegel Online reports:
“This technology comes from space travel,” explains Patrick Givanovitch, head of the Toulouse start-up Lyberta, which, together with the French space agency CNES, has developed the sensors and got them ready for series production. “They were supposed to help find landing spots on Venus,” Givanovitch explains. The hardware and software has been remodeled to make it suitable for the more earthly voyages undertaken by French drivers and has also been patented. “We know in real time where there is parking available in the city,” he says.
The information gathered is sent to a server, which can keep track of around 2,500 to 3,000 sensors. The results, which are updated every few seconds, are then sent to users of the system. The only prerequisite is that they have a modern smartphone that can display the parking spots as pictograms on an electronic map. Green means a free spot, while occupied spaces are shown in red.
…In the future, the information will also be accessible via GPS navigation systems, which will display vacant parking spots in the same way that they currently indicate gas stations, hospitals or churches. “In practice, this will mean that the driver will be able to input their destination and will see immediately whether there are parking spaces available there. If the spots are filled by other road users, the driver will be directed to other, empty parking spaces within a radius of approximately 300 meters (980 feet),” Givanovitch explains.
[via Wired Gadget Lab]