Professor Marco Gruteser and students at Rutgers University’s Wireless Information Network Laboratory invented a prototype system called ParkNet designed to provide real-time data on available legal parking spaces. The system relies on multiple cars carrying the ultrasonic sensors and GPS data to provide the information to server systems.
Tracking the speed of mobile phones, they can estimate traffic flow and how long it would take to get to Manhattan, but in taking it a step further, they found how long it would take to find a parking spot.
Using ultrasonic sensors, GPS location finders, wireless networks, and developed algorithms, the Rutgers group assumed that vehicles traveling frequently in a given area would be equipped with sensors that measure distances to obstacles and determine whether there is an available parking space. Through algorithms, the Rutgers team was also able to distinguish between parked cars and other objects. That information would then be fed to an internet server and matched with a map of legal parking spots in the area. Drivers would then be able to find out where parking spaces are open through their GPS devices or smart phones.
Professor Gruteser said he hopes the product will be ready for widespread use in about two years. For more information, click here.
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