Parking apps & tech roundup 1/14

| January 26, 2015 | 0 Comments

A host of new apps and techie features promises to help drivers source parking spots, make payment smoother, and, in one case, even eliminate the burdens of handling that pesky steering wheel altogether. Check out our rundown of the latest developments:

Parkmobile: Sacramento, California drivers can take advantage of this app’s collaboration with the Sacramento Department of Public Works to pay for parking via mobile device. Parkmobile, reports Government Technology magazine, is now in-use at single-space smart meters in a tourist area, though plans are in the works to expand the service to meters in other areas of the city. (Parkmobile is also available in other cities throughout the country.) A major perk of Parkmobile: the app can send texts altering when their meters are going to expire, and also lets users add time to their meter from remote locations.

Image from Rockmixer.

Image from Rockmixer.

SpotHero: Boston event-goers can avoid the hassle of finding a spot by using SpotHero, an app that reserves spots in parking lots and garages at an “oftentimes discounted rate,” reports blog BostInno. To use the app, which already boasts a presences in 11 other cities, and Washington DC, users select an open spot and an allotted time period, and pay for the amount of time they’ll use the space — which is available by hour, day or month.

Drones:  If apps are too old-school for you, take heart, dear techie: a new drone-based parking system may soon eliminate the need for both endless round-the-block trips and parking apps. Amir Ehsani Zonouz, a UMass Dartmouth student came up with an award-winning concept, as FastCo. reports: A “network of quadcopters would hover over a parking lot, automatically detect an open spot, and then either lead a driver through the car’s navigation system. For someone with an older car, or in underground parking garages that block GPS signals, the drone could just fly in front, manually guiding the driver into the spot.” The idea is now being prototyped by Siemens Road and City Mobility.

Self-Parking: Self-driving cars are by now old news. Cars that can park themselves are next on the horizon, reports the New York Times. BMW, for one, recently revealed a BMW i3’s ability to park itself via commands delivered through a smartwatch; other companies like Toyota, Volkswagen and Valeo also offer the feature. Parallel parking assist technology already exists, as the Times reports: “In such systems, the driver remains behind the wheel, but with a push of a button, the vehicle measures the parking space and then swings backs into it without any input from the human operator.” The self-parking feature would essentially fill the same purpose, but with any sort of spot.

While drones and self-parking are as yet years from becoming a reality, existing apps and promising technology are already showing signs of integration: BMW, for one, is working with Parkmobile (see above) on plans to coordinate parking location and payment with the self-parking feature.

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Category: Parking Tech, Roundup

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