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Intelligent Parking Solutions Reduce Emissions and Traffic
By a&s International 2011/4/22

ALPR is currently one of the most effective ways to identify a vehicle. It is a valuable tool for parking operators seeking to automate parking lots, whether they want to cut costs, increase customer satisfaction, or cut emissions and energy consumption. The dilemma lies in how ALPR is implemented to meet user demands, as well as keeping costs affordable.

ALPR is currently one of the most effective ways to identify a vehicle. It is a valuable tool for parking operators seeking to automate parking lots, whether they want to cut costs, increase customer satisfaction, or cut emissions and energy consumption. The dilemma lies in how ALPR is implemented to meet user demands, as well as keeping costs affordable.

ALPR processing can be done on the camera, in a nearby trunk or at the back end. ALPR equipment generally consists of a camera with integral illumination and a processor that hosts the ALPR software, said Jim Kennedy, President of Inex/Zamir. “The processor can handle multiple lanes for efficiency and cost savings. The camera/illuminator needs to be in the lane, and the processor can either be in the lane (a weatherized unit) or located elsewhere such as an electrical cabinet, entry or exit kiosk or rack-mounted in an administration building.”

A camera that has a built-in processor designed to interpret plates can run at its full potential regardless of the number of cameras in the system, said Chris Yigit, AutoVu Senior Product Manager, Genetec. “This would not be the case if you had a trunk unit that's shared by more than one camera.”

Another key to superior reading is image quality, Yigit said. “By processing on the edge, we can access the full, uncompressed image that needs to be interpreted. If we were to send this to the back office instead of processing on the edge, we would need to send 30 fps of uncompressed video per camera over the network; the bandwidth requirement would be obscene. The alternative would be to compress the video, which would technically work, but the read performance would drop. Altering just a few pixels in the compression affects the highly sophisticated algorithms.”

ALPR algorithms can be built into the camera, but a big consideration is cost per lane, Kennedy said. “If you run multiple cameras into one processor, which can be located near the cameras, you still have the ability to reduce bandwidth traffic going back to a central site (perhaps even more so), and you are only investing in a single processor for multiple lanes.”

MOVING FORWARD
As the number of vehicles increases, so will the frustration of finding a parking space. Be it for parking lot operators or building managers, efficient parking can increase customer satisfaction and revenue. The environmental impact of emission and energy consumption can also be relieved through smarter parking. “Most of these measures lower gasoline consumption and the associated emissions by helping people to burn less gasoline searching for parking. This adds up over many vehicles over time,” Martin said. Looking forward, there are a number of areas where technology revolutionizes the parking experience.

[NextPage]STREET PARKING
Technology can increase efficiency for street parking in a number of areas, and there are already a number of pilot projects in operation, said Paul Everett, Research Director for Access Control, Fire and Security, IMS Research. “San Francisco installed wireless parking sensors in an attempt to reduce the need for drivers to circle the city looking for a space. The sensors were placed at metered parking spaces, entrances/exits to city-owned lots and other unmetered spaces. The wireless, electromagnetic sensors detect and report whether a space is occupied, for how long, all in real time. The program also offers the ability to use credit and debit cards at spaces as well as prepaid parking meter cards.”

CAR CHARGING
The advent of electric and hybrid cars is also a huge opportunity for municipalities and parking operators. With the likely growth in plug-in hybrid and electric vehicles on the horizon, people will benefit from being able to charge away from home, Martin said. “Installing regular electrical outlets at which people can pay for electricity allows parking lots to get into the fuel business, and would serve as a draw for electric vehicle owners. Many parking lots do not have any such infrastructure currently. Even a subset of electrified spaces could command a price premium and draw in owners of electrified vehicles to park.”

Some challenges with car-charging services include authorizing access to the outlet, which can utilize access control solutions or use a software management system. The security of the vehicle also becomes more of an issue, since the charging component of the vehicle is exposed for an extended period of time. Surveillance and VCA are necessary to ensure the safety of the vehicle.

The demand for smarter and centrally connected parking solutions is definitely increasing, Yigit said. “More institutions and municipalities are looking to provide better service to their citizens, while reducing costs and potentially increasing revenues. Having few available parking spaces is a common complaint in many areas.” With increasing TCO and parking headaches, improving and easing the driving experience is necessary to maintain customers, Fox added.

With environmental conditions worsening, energy consumption skyrocketing and oil reserves dwindling, sustainable living benefits. Road vehicles are a major source of carbon dioxide emissions and smarter parking solutions are among the ways to reduce their impact.

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Messe Frankfurt New Era Business Media Ltd. All rights reserved. 2019/6/26 print out