An array of apps for drivers are showing up on the market, with functions that range from DUI prevention and parking policing to valet service and coin-free payment. Our latest roundup:
GoParkIt may phase out currency, or at least pocket change, faster than BitCoin. The app lets drivers pay for their parking meters via smartphone; they can also “refill” the meter from a remote location. Simply indicate the length of time you’ll need the parking space and the app will pay for parking via your credit card information. Replete with interactive maps that show your location as well as neighboring locations, the app helps users plan how much time they’ll need to get to and from their cars. There’s even a function for those “Dude, where’s my car?” moments: Just click on the car symbol at the top right of your smartphone screen to find your vehicle.
TowIt allows app users to report parking violations and dangerous driving as it unfolds, in realtime by snapping photos and verifying the misbehaving driver’s license plate number. Relying on crowdsourced data provided from users globally, the app claims to reduce traffic congestion, pollution and collisions.
Canadian founders Michael McArthur and Gregory Meloche are aiming to involve local government, law enforcement and towing companies, and say that it is a pro-safety, and not anti-vehicle, app. “This is not an anti-car movement by any means. I know it may seem that way to the public. I’m downtown cyclist, and I really don’t care what they think,” McArthur told The Toronto Star. “We are trying to solve a problem that impacts tens of thousands, if not hundreds of thousands of people in our city, every day.”
BluCar, an app available in Denver, is essentially Uber for valet parking. App users can drop a pin on a parking map to call a uniformed parking attendant over, who will park your vehicle in a secure parking lot within three of the city’s given hotspots. When you’re ready to depart you can use the app to alert the valet, who will return the car within 10 minutes. The cost is about the same as valet parking, plus a $5 surcharge, which, as CBS points out, is about $17 in downtown Denver. “It’s not valet and it’s not lot parking,” developer Michael Dee tells CBS. “It’s what we call on-demand parking.”
Paid for by participating attorneys, Duey Dialer connects drivers with legal representation when they are pulled over or stopped at a DUI checkpoint. Just press a button and your conversation with the cops will be recorded and automatically sent to a lawyer via both text and email. The information includes “where you were, ‘cause obviously where you were may not be where you live; who you are; where you live; your contact information and then all the recording that took place,” app developer Daniel Delgado told Fox News. “If within 45 minutes you have not stopped it, it presumes you no longer have access to that device and therefore it will send the information automatically.”
Delgado claims the app doesn’t encourage drunk driving, but instead protects drivers’ rights. “Instead of someone having to look and search who’s a DUI attorney, especially at that moment where you’re most vulnerable, you’re most concerned and what do you do to protect your rights that process is just automated for you,” Delgado said.